15th Annual Gerry Dulac Parkway West Rotary Charity Classic
Monday, July 29th
Sewickley Heights Golf Club
Benefits Robinson Twp. Parks & Recreation Department and Parkway West Rotary Charities
Includes: 18-hole Scramble, Gift, Continental Breakfast, Dinner, Auction.
Register online at parkwaywestrotary.com
Special Editions of the Golf Show
ARDMORE, Pa. -- The Broad Street Bullies were a collection of hockey antagonists from the 1970s who had nicknames such as Hammer and Hound, Moose and Big Bird. They terrorized opponents who ventured into their Philadelphia home and bloodied their noses, just for good measure.
Kind of like what's happening at Merion Golf Club, where the 113th U.S. Open is starting to look like the Spectrum with whicker baskets.
In this instance, the bullies are the United States Golf Association, who must have got up on the wrong side of the bed when they set the pin locations for the second round. They were tucked in such odd spots that players needed a GPS to find them.
"They're trying to protect par," said Tiger Woods, the world's No. 1 player. "They made it really hard."
After nearly two rounds, the only players under par are first-round leader Phil Mickelson, who didn't make a birdie until a 20-footer at the final hole; and Billy Horschel, who shot the low round (67) of the day. They are tied at 1-under 139.
Three players are a shot behind at even par, including England's Luke Donald, who bogeyed five of his last nine holes in a round of 72. He is tied with Steve Stricker and Justin Rose, each of whom shot 69 on a day when only three players bettered par.
The second round was suspended because of darkness with 68 players still on the course, including England's Ian Poulter, who was even with four holes remaining. They will return this morning to complete the round and determine the cut, projected to be 8-over 148.
"The pins were a lot more tucked; they were tougher to get to," Donald said. "A few were on little hills and slopes. It's very difficult to make those putts when the ball is breaking so much."
"I thought the pins were very severe," said former U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk, who hit 13 of 14 fairways in the second round and still shot 79. "I thought there were some hole locations that would have been unplayable had they been dry and firm."
Mickelson made 14 pars and hit nine of his last 10 fairways, but his putter cost him a number of strokes in the middle of the round when he missed short birdie attempts at Nos. 8 and 11 and a 2 1/2-footer for par at 12. That ended his streak of 10 consecutive pars after an opening bogey.
He followed that bogey with another at the short par-3 13th when he hit a wedge into the back bunker, dropping him from the lead for the first time since the ninth hole Thursday.
"It was a very nice way to finish," Mickelson said. "I fought hard all day and let a lot of birdie opportunities slide in the middle of the round."
Then he added, "It should not have been an over-par round as well as I played."
Horschel hit all 18 greens in regulation in the second round -- the first player to do that in a U.S. Open since 1998. His only bogey came at the shortest hole on the course -- the 123-yard 13th -- when he three-putted. That ended a streak of 21 holes without a bogey.
"No, I was not in the zone, trust me," Horschel said. "I know what in the zone is for me -- I don't get nervous, I just see the shot and go. And I saw the shot and went with it, but I was still nervous with a lot of them."
Horschel has been one of the PGA Tour's hottest players since April. He won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, finished second at the Houston Open and third at the Valero Texas Open. He has five top-10 finishes in his past seven starts.
Because he did not finish his first round Thursday, Horschel played 29 holes Friday.
"It was a great day," Horschel said. "Four birdies at a U.S. Open, I'll take it. I wish I had a couple more, though."
Woods (70) and Rory McIlroy (70) were among the seven players in the clubhouse who shot par or better in the second round, leaving them in a group of five players at 143, four shots from the lead. Woods, the world's No. 1 player, has never won any of his 78 PGA Tour titles when he was over par after two rounds.
Donald, who ended his Thursday round with three consecutive birdies before play was suspended, went the other way in the second round. After being tied for the lead, he had five bogeys in a six-hole stretch, including four in a row beginning at No. 4, his 12th hole.
But he managed to stop the leaking with a birdie at No. 9, a 206-yard par-3, that soothed his psyche.
"The greens have been tricky to read all week," said Donald, the No. 6-ranked player in the world. "They seem to be breaking a little bit more than I'm seeing, hence a couple of lip-outs. But you try not to panic in U.S. Opens. You try to take each hole as it comes."
Tiger Woods, who has more PGA Tour victories than any player in history other than Sam Snead, never has won a tournament when he was over par after two rounds.
Not in any of his 14 major victories. Or any of his 78 tour titles.
But that might not matter at Merion Golf Club, where being over par is like being overweight at the fat farm.
Woods is at 3-over 143 after 36 holes of the 113th U.S. Open, just four shots behind the clubhouse lead held by Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel. But, of the players who completed their second round, he was one of only seven who shot par or better Friday.
And it is not getting any easier at Merion.
The course that some thought would be assaulted with low scores already is nastier than an alley cat. And the greens and fairways haven't even begun to get firm yet.
"It's hard with the wind and pin locations," Woods said. "They're really tough. We knew they were going to be in the areas, but we didn't think they were going to be as severe as they are."
It was a long day for Woods, the world's No. 1 player. He was one of 78 players who had to return in the morning to finish his first round. After making two bogeys and a birdie in his final seven holes, he had less than 90 minutes before starting his second round.
He was able to creep up the leader board with a round of 70 that included three birdies and three bogeys. But, most important, it also included big par saves at four holes -- Nos. 5, 7, 8 and 17.
Woods will take par any time he can get it at Merion. And par will become a precious commodity as the course begins to dry over the weekend.
"I don't know how much this golf course is going to dry out, whether or not we're going to start picking up mud on a couple of the shots," Woods said. "I got a couple there today. If it dries out a bit more ... I don't know if they're going to set up the course as difficult as they have."
Woods said it was a good thing Merion was still playing soft and receptive in the second round.
"It would be hard to keep the balls in some of the fairways, but I don't think they would have made the greens, the pins, as severe out there. I don't think they would have, maybe a step easier than they are now."
Woods wasn't done.
"Am I surprised? Absolutely not. Unless you played practice rounds out here and you've seen the golf course, you don't realize how difficult it is. Because the short holes are short, but if you miss the fairway, you can't get the ball on the green. And the longer holes are brutal.
"And this is probably the stiffest of par 3s that we ever face. And then they've thrown some of the pin locations in that they have, and it's really tough."
So is the rough, which has caused even more problems for Woods.
On his first hole Thursday, Woods appeared to hurt his left wrist hitting his approach from the right rough. He aggravated the wrist several other times during the round when he tried to gouge the ball from the rough.
The same thing happened several times in the second round, with Woods shaking the pain from his wrist and even elbow every time he chopped a shot from the high grass.
"It is what it is," Woods said of the injury, which he said he got last month at The Players championship.
What really pains Woods, though, is his failure to win a major title in five years. He has been stuck on 14 since his most recent one -- his Monday playoff victory against Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open -- despite having chances in several majors since then, most notably the Masters.
If he does end his drought, it will be the first time he has won a tournament after being over par after two rounds.
"Just keep grinding," Woods said. "You just don't ever know what the winning score is going to be. You don't know if the guys are going to come back. We have a long way to go, and these conditions aren't going to get any easier."
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Phil Mickelson, who shot 3-under 67 on Thursday, is officially the first-round leader of the 113th U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.
Because of two weather delays, the first round could not be completed until this morning, and none of the 78 players who did not finish Thursday could catch Mickelson.
That includes England's Luke Donald, who was at 4-under after 13 holes when play was finally suspended because of darkness. But Donald bogeyed two of the five difficult finishing holes at Merion (Nos. 16 and 18) to finish at 68. He was tied with Matthew Goggin.
Tiger Woods, the world's No. 1 player, had to complete seven holes this morning and offset a birdie at the par-3 13th with bogeys at Nos. 12 and 17 to finish with 73.
Rory McIlroy, the world's No. 2 player who was in the same group with Woods, bogeyed three of the final five holes to also shoot 73.