Altvater: Top stories after the second round at U.S. OpenWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Fifty percent of the precincts have reported, and the results are in for the first 36 holes of the 112th U.S. Open at Olympic Golf Club.
The conclusion is that, that Tiger Woods fellow is pretty good.
After two rounds in the U.S. Open two things are very evident.
One is that Olympic Golf Club is very firm and fast which is making it extremely difficult for the world’s best golfers to shoot low scores.
Two is that Tiger Woods appears to be very comfortable.
Olympic Golf Club is showing its teeth. It is built on the side of a very steep hillside and provides difficult side hill lies for approach shots.
The greens are hard, which makes it nearly impossible to hold long iron shots. They are also extremely fast and combined with severe undulation makes chipping and putting an adventure.
The average score for the first two rounds was 74.5 on the par 70 Olympic Golf Club.
The first six holes have averaged 2.63 shots over par. The 600-yard par 5 No. 16 has played the fifth most difficult at 5.43.
When was the last time a par 5 played that much over par for the best players in the world?
Mike Davis and the USGA know how to make par relative at a classic old golf course every year for the U. S. Open.
Some young amateurs have surprised the golf community with their play.
Beau Hossler, 17, a junior in high school from California, held the lead briefly at two under par.
He struggled through the tough stretch of holes one through six (his back nine) and finished his day with a three over par 73 and is T-12.
Fourteen-year-old Andy Zhang, who got into the field as an alternate qualifier, didn’t make the weekend cut but kept it under 80 both days, shooting 79-78 for a total of 17 over par.
What were you doing at age 14?
Veterans Jim Furyk and David Toms, tied with Tiger Woods at one under par, have put themselves near the top of the leader board for a run on the weekend.
Both have won major championship titles and another would certainly secure their entry into the Hall of Fame.
Can either of them keep it together for 36 more holes and add the 2012 U.S. Open to their trophy case?
Perhaps the biggest surprises were the top players that caught early flights out of town.
No. 1 in the world Luke Donald kept finding the rough off of the tee and posted rounds of 79-72 for 11 over par. He will remain major-less.
World No. 2, Rory McIlroy shot 77-73, 10 over par, and he too missed the cut. Seems his early preparation and hiring a full-time coach has not helped him sort out his recent swing problems.
Other prominent names missing the cut: 2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Bill Haas, Lucas Glover and Louis Oosthuizen.
Europeans have dominated the major events over the last several years.
2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell is one over par T-5, along with European Tour player Nicholas Colsaerts.
Outside of Furyk and Toms, McDowell could provide the biggest competition for Woods on the weekend.
Phil Mickelson hit his first shot on Thursday into the trees, took an unplayable and re-teed. Things didn’t improve much for Phil after that.
He flirted with the cut line all day on Friday but kept battling and will see the weekend with his 76-71, seven over par.
But the biggest story by far is the reemergence of Tiger Woods as the world’s premier golfer.
He has struck the ball beautifully through the first two rounds and is tied for the lead at one under par.
He has forsaken the driver on most of the tees at Olympic Golf Club, choosing to hit long irons or fairway woods.
Woods is hitting greens and rolling the ball with some confidence.
He has exhibited a controlled and systematic game plan for this golf course and this championship.
Tiger has won eight of nine times he has held the lead after 36 holes in a major championship.
Tiger Woods could pick up his 15th major title on Sunday and get one step closer to surpassing Jack Nicklaus.
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