US Open round 2: Oh to be an Englishman, now that Casey's there
It’s been sooooooo good to be an Englishman these last couple of days. Paul Casey’s astonishing round Friday was the icing on the cake. It must surely rank among the great rounds of Major golf history.
But it’s back to the old accuracy argument again. Our second round leader for hitting fairways is none other than young Mr Casey, who only missed one on Friday. That helped him reach 12 of 18 greens in regulation, a much more impressive figure than it looks, and some of his putting was out of this world. A bit lucky and certainly brave. He admits, for instance, the 45ft birdie on his opening hole could as easily have ended up a bogey.
It’s that Woody Austin moment again, where I am left to wonder that on a given day just one person out of 150 or so top practitioners can find the key that unlocks the door to a great round.
The problem with Casey is that he observes the laws of physics too closely, notably the one that says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Given the superlative nature of his opening round, we’d better brace ourselves for an awful hangover round Saturday.
What Paul should do is have a quick word with Justin Rose, who has been quietly going about his business very consistently to hover two shots off the pace. And all Justin needs to do is get past Angel Cabrera and Bubba Watson. Cabrera hasn’t been setting too many fairways alight recently, but I was very impressed by his performance in the Open at Hoylake last year, when he came seventh. His putting slipped Friday or he would have been giving Casey a run for his money. As for Bubba, I still think stamina and concentration over the stretch are his biggest problems.
Plenty of other interesting names gathering around the honeypot. Stephen Ames, a name on the odd tipster’s lips before the off, produced the best short game on Friday, along with Jerry Kelly, sitting alongside Tiger Woods.
Brandon Tucker, in a recent dispatch from Oakmont, raised the point that David Toms is the only player above Tiger to have won a Major. True, but then Geoff Ogilvy, Michael Campbell and Jim Furyk were Major virgins when they won this event. Toms still has to show he can stay the course over the weekend while Tiger, for all that punters continue to lavish squillions on him, was going decidedly backwards Friday, to the point where his price of 4.8 strikes me as downright miserable.
PS: Talking of Woody Austin, I see for the second week running he has made a monkey of Adam Scott, beating him by 7 shots. Okay, both missed the cut, but Scott is surely going to take some time to get over the disaster of this past fortnight. He is in good company at Oakmont though. Sergio Garcia, Sean O’Hair, Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Trevor Immelman, Stewart Cink, K J Choi, Vaughn Taylor, Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington, Davis Love III, Colin Montgomerie (only the second time he has missed a Major cut), valiant soldiers now lying dead on the battlefield. You feel they should erect a war memorial at Oakmont in their honour.
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Four score and twenty minutes ago has a ring to it, for those dead valiant soldiers. That would be, what, about 100 minutes ago?
Never bet on Woods missing a cut anywhere.
I look for this to end in a playoff with three or more golfers involved.
Eight over par will get into the playoff.
Stephen Ames will be one of the guys in the playoff. Toms and Baddeley are two others who may be there.
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