ARDMORE, PA. — A year ago, Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell, each past U.S. Open champions, teed off in the final group on Sunday at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, vying for their second Open title. Neither could make the swings necessary over the final few holes, and the trophy went to Webb Simpson. But Furyk and McDowell were right there, contending again.
This year will be different. Furyk and McDowell played together in the first two rounds of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, but they won’t be here for the weekend. McDowell fired rounds of 76 and 77 to finish 13 over par, Furyk was even worse with rounds of 77 and 79 to finish 16 over. Though the cut won’t be official until the second round is completed Saturday morning – play resumes at 7:15 a.m., with 68 players to complete their round — neither Furyk nor McDowell will be here for the weekend.
“I thought myself around the golf course poorly,” Furyk said. “I putted poorly. I drove the ball poorly — just things you can’t do at a U.S. Open.”
In two days, Furyk made two birdies, three double bogeys and a triple bogey. McDowell, the 2010 Open champion at Pebble Beach, made more birdies (five), but turned in a staggering seven double bogeys — as many double bogeys as McDowell has produced on the European and PGA Tours this year combined.
“It’s that hard, it’s that difficult, it’s that long,” McDowell said. “I’m disappointed, of course. It’s not the way I wanted to play the last couple of days. But this place is very hard.”
Angel Cabrera, the 2007 champ, shot a second-round 81 and was 15 over.
Masters champion Adam Scott birdied his final hole Thursday night when darkness halted the first round and stood comfortably at 3 under par, still with seven holes to play in the morning. But he woke to cool temperatures and a completely shifted breeze, made bogey to start the day and gave back five shots in those seven holes to shoot 72.
“Just a little out of sorts,” Scott said. “I just lost my rhythm a little bit early this morning, and then fought with that all day.”
Scott also struggled to putt on Merion’s increasingly difficult greens. He made just one birdie in his second-round 75 and stands at 7 over. The cut, which is low 60 and ties — the USGA eliminated the 10-shot rule last year — is projected to be 8 over. . . .
Cheng-Tsung Pan made his major championship debut when he was 19, at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional. There, he missed the cut, but brought confidence back to the University of Washington, where he plays college golf.
After opening with a 2-over 72, Pan played brilliantly Friday, making two birdies and no bogeys in his first nine holes to get to even par, one off the lead of Billy Horschel and Phil Mickelson. He is thriving in the environment.
“Personally, I feel I belong [in] that kind of place,” Pan said. “I’m not saying I’m good enough, but I love this kind of feeling and the competition is great. I just want to be here always.”
Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion at St. Andrews, withdrew from the tournament Friday, citing an unspecified injury. Oosthuizen had opened with a 75. . . .
The first round, which began at 6:45 a.m. Thursday, wasn’t completed until 11:26 a.m. Friday because of two weather delays on Thursday. By the time the final players completed their first rounds, some players had already started their second.