Hubert Green, whose dress matches his name, broke through the pack today with a 67 for a 36-hole total of 136 and a one-stroke lead over Terry Diehl in the second round of the U.S. Open at Southern Hills. A stroke farther back in third place is Tom Purtzer.
Green, whose best finish this year has been a runner-up to Jack Nicklaus in the Memorial tournament, displayed the kind of golf that gave him three straight tournament victories in 1976.
The slim, 30-year-old native of Alabama had a 32-35 for his 67 with three birdies on the front and two birdies and two bogeys on the back.
He played with Washington's Lee Elder, who missed the cut. Elder never did get his game going and had an 81 for an embarrassing total of 158. Two other Washington-area golfers, George Graefe and Doug Ballenger, also failed to survive. Graefe had 152 and Ballenger 156.
The field, which had been bunched on the first day, began to separate and there were several scores in the 60's, including a 67 by Gary Player, 68s by Dichl and Nicklaus, and several 69s. Nicklaus is now at 142 after an opening round of 74 and very much in contention.
The 18th hole, which was the cause of much concern by the golfers Thursday, was shortened from 449 to 429 yards; it made a big difference with fewer bogeys and more pars and birdies being recorded today.
"I played better Thursday than I did today," said Green. "I was lucky today. We still have two rounds ot go. A lot of players tend to relax and fall back. They rest on their duffs. I don't intend to do that."
Purtzer had a 34 going out today and a 35 coming back. After parring the first three holes in routine style, he birdied the fourth after a nine-iron approach left him an eight-foot putt. But he double-bogered the par-five fifth after pulling his drive into the rough.
"I hacked around," he said, "and finally got it over the green on my fourth shot. I chipped back and missed an eight-footer . . . (and made) a double bogey. I told myself then that everybody is going to make mistakes. I got those two strokes back when I birdied the sixth from 15 feet and the seventh from five feet."
Purtzer also birdied the 12th hole when he ran in another 15-footer. But he lost that stroke on the 13th when he pushed his drive behind a tree and had to waste a shot. Then he parred in.
"I'm really not feeling any pressure," he insisted. "Go get it and go find it is my philosophy. You've always got to miss the next one. I'm driving well and putting well and that's the secret."
Sam Adams, a 30-year-old lefthander, ahd 69 today for 139 to tie him with Player and Rod Funseth. Adams had six birdies and five bogeys, three of the latter coming on the first four holes. Then he settled down to play fine golf, including a string of four birdies from the 14th through the 17th. But he bogeyed the 18th.
"I've made only four checks this year for [WORD ILLEGIBLE] ," he said, "and I collected only $4,500 last year. How do I get along? I'm not actually destitute but if you want to borrow $10, look for someone else."
Adams, a native of Boone, N.C., says he "doubts" he's a descendant of the famous Massachusetts family. "I'd like to be," he said, "but I don't think I can claim them." While Adams plays golf lefthanded, he does everything else righthanded. The only other lefthander who was in the tournament, Ray Cragun of New Mexico, missed the out with [WORD ILLEGIBLE]
Player played the front side in three-under-par 33 and came back in par 35 with a birdie and a bogey on the nine. His only bogey came on the 10 after his ball buried in the sand on his second shot. He got out 10 feet from the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and two-putted.
Player, considered the finest sand player in the world, agreed with his fellow pros when he said, "These are the most severe bunkers I have ever seen. If your ball goes in on flight - that is, if it doesn't roll in - the ball goes underground."
Player said this Open means "more to me than any other tournament I've played." He explained, "The reason is that if I win this Open (he also won in 1965), I'll tie Jack Nicklaus as the only man to win all four major titles (Masters, U.S. and British opens and British opens and the PGA) twice."
Weiskopf had another spotty round but managed to pull out a second straight 71. He had an eagle-three on the 569-yard 10th with a drive, a four-iron and an eight-foot putt.
"I started badly Thursday when I was five over par after the first four holes and then played the middle holes well," he said. "Today, it was the reverse, I started with three pars, made three straight birdies, and then picked up four bogeys and a double bogey in the next eight holes. At times, I was frustrated today. But I decided to keep my cool. We still have a long way to go. But I hope I never get into another bunker on this course. The bunkers here are impossible."
Al Gelberger had a great round going - two under par - until he bogeyed the 17th by three-putting, and doubled-bogeyed the 18th after being buried under the lip of the trap. "I'm in a good position," he said, "and I have time to make up any strokes. I just grind it out on a golf course and I can do it here."