U.S. Open Notebook

University of Washington's Nick Taylor Ties Amateur Record at U.S. Open by Shooting 65

The 109th U.S. Open played at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y.
By Gene Wang and Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, June 21, 2009

FARMINGDALE, N.Y., June 20 -- Canadian Nick Taylor is used to sparse crowds and little pomp for most of his golf outings. He is a senior at the University of Washington, where he plays in virtual anonymity as compared to, say, his counterparts on the PGA Tour.

Even as the first-team all-American was helping the Huskies to the Pacific-10 title, the galleries for the event at Seattle Golf Club didn't match those for practice rounds at the U.S. Open.

Spectators numbering in the thousands clearly didn't faze Taylor on Saturday. Neither did the sloppy conditions at Bethpage Black, where his 5-under-par 65 tied the 18-hole record by an amateur. Taylor is 2 under entering the third round.

"You just kind of have to go with the flow," said Taylor, whose card included seven birdies en route to matching James Simons in 1971 and James McHale in 1947.

Taylor, 21, was six shots off the lead after his second round but has plenty of golf left in which to gain ground. Playing in his first Open at Torrey Pines last year, Taylor missed the cut.

"It's a good feeling to be able to make the cut and play the weekend," Taylor said. "You know, I'm a couple under par, and tomorrow I have really no expectations, so just go out and play as well as I can and not have any pressure for the most part."

Harrington Misses Cut

Among the 95 players cut was three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, who finished tied for eighth here in 2002 and has won three of the past seven majors. But his driver was wayward Saturday, and he shot back-to-back rounds of 76 to miss the cut of 144 by eight shots.

"It's probably hard to take anything positive out," Harrington said.

During the second-round telecast, NBC analyst Johnny Miller said Harrington needed to go back to hitting a high fade, which Miller said helped Harrington win the past two British Opens, rather than trying to draw the ball. Harrington did, indeed, tinker with his swing heading into this year, but he said he has not -- at all -- incorporated a draw.

"I can't draw the ball to save my life," he said. He said he is confident that his swing changes will help "over the long haul," but right now, heading into the British, "It's tough to wait for all of it to come together."

Other notable names missing the cut included England's Paul Casey (150), the third-ranked player in the world; David Toms (145), who followed an opening-round 69 with a 76; 1997 Open champ Ernie Els (155); and 2005 Open champion Michael Campbell (156).

Funk Plays On

Takoma Park native and former University of Maryland golf coach Fred Funk shot a second-round 74 and made it into the weekend at 4 over. Funk qualified for the Open on Monday in a playoff at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville. . . .

Matthew Jones withdrew on Saturday with a back injury. Jones shot an 8-over 78 in the first round. He was 2 over through nine holes of his second round and 10 over for the championship when he withdrew.

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