A miscalculation of wind, not enough water on the greens and some insane golf ensued Saturday, leading to just three scores under par, a scoring average north of 75 and some raised blood pressure. No one from the final 22 groups could match par. Putting on the 13th, Mickelson incited the ire - and plenty of laughter, also - of viewers when he putted a moving ball. Chip it too hard, run over before it gets to the water and knock it on the green so you don't have to hit it again or go the drop zone! There were dozens of other putts he could have scrutinized over the course of the weekend, which saw him shoot scores that ranged from Sunday's 63 to Saturday's 78.
"It's the U.S. Open".
The course was very playable in the morning, as attested by matching rounds of 66 by Daniel Berger and Tony Finau, but it was a different beast in the afternoon after the winds and low humidity baked the greens to a crisp.
Fox went into the third round nine shots behind Johnson but after the world No.1 surrendered his four-shot lead, the Kiwi was six back.
"I didn't miss it until I knew I wasn't going to be at Augusta", he said. "And that's the difference between shooting 7 over and even par".
At least he still has a chance.
It was the first time since Oakmont in 2007 that no one was under par going into the final day.
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It's easy to look at winning as the only thing that matters in a golf tournament.
Some thought Koepka's US Open triumph at Erin Hills previous year was an anomaly which came on a non-traditional championship venue where the wide-open fairways were easy pickings for a long hitter like Koepka. "You don't get mulligan's in business at this level. how can this team keep doing this without consequences". He was presented with a nine-footer for a birdie on the 18th that would have been just the second 62 in the majors after Branden Grace's breakthrough at Royal Birkdale 12 months ago. Shinnecock plays incredibly tough, and you knew that going in at even par was going to be a really good score. The circus of going from a 16-under victor at Erin Hills to a one-over victor at Shinnecock Hills the next year makes the tournament a complete toss-up annually, which thoroughly entertains me.
"I'm pretty lucky that my actual job isn't a 9 to 5, so it really gives me flexibility to go out and watch Brooks".
The reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion shared co-medalist honors with Luis Gagne, a college golfer who is from Costa Rica and plays at LSU.
Koepka, 28, who joined Curtis Strange (1988-89) and Ben Hogan (1950-51) as the only players to win consecutive Opens since the end of WWII, was on point with all facets of his game, tapping into his mental state, eye-opening power and imperative short game with equal reward.
Only three players broke par, all before the final groups teed off. "If they're best buddies, that's (what's) standing between me and the trophy". Both had three straight bogeys. Rose wound up with a 73 and was one shot behind at 214. Stenson had a 74 and was another shot back.
Few tournaments take a toll quite like the U.S. Open, but while Koepka took a few hits, he never stayed down for long. He might care even less if people talk about him as much as Johnson, Spieth or McIlroy.
"We want the US Open to be tough".