Cabrera in charge after day of carnage
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2007 US Open | Round Two | 16 Jun 2007
It may be that Oakmont Country Club was kind to the field on day one of the US Open Championship but there is little doubt that the golf course that most feared would rear its head this week did exactly that today.
When the then leader Angel Cabrera hit his second shot through the green at the par four 3rd hole (his 12th of the day) and took bogey the leaderboard said goodbye to red numbers for what was likely to be the final time for the week.
At one stage in the middle of day one there were seven or eight players under par, but by the completion of the first day’s play there were just two and by 5.20pm on day two there were none. The chances of anyone reversing the trend seemed very unlikely.
Cabrera and David Toms then had the lead at even par by one shot over Swede Peter Hanson with Stephen Ames and a couple of early starters, Justin Rose and Aaron Baddeley at two over.
Cabrera has a remarkable record at the US open not having missed a cut in seven starts. Even though his best finish has been 7th his deft touch and harnessed power has been a great combination for the US Open style set ups. He went back into the outright lead when David Toms made a mess of the short par four 14th and dropped two behind and it was Bubba Watson who was Cabrera’s nearest rival at one over and just one back.
Within an hour of there being no red figures, there were no longer any green figures as Cabrera bogeyed his 14th hole and the lead was shared at one over with Bubba Watson. Not only was this having an impact on those contending for the lead it was also having an impact on those just wanting a game at the weekend. The ten shot rule which allows all those within ten shots of the 36 hole lead to play the weekend irrespective of where they stood in the field would allow those at eleven over par the chance of at least reconsidering their weekend plans.
Cabrera however was to have the last say in the respect. A brilliant birdie at the last, after a sand wedge to two feet, put all those at 11 over out of their misery and no doubt gave the USGA cause for celebration also. If they had remained in the field, there would have been as many as 80 players playing the weekend but now there will be 63.
Cabrera leads by one over Watson with another shot back to Aaron Baddeley, Rose, Stephen Ames and Niclas Fasth the latter of who was amongst the last to finish on day two.
Both Baddeley and Rose started this event with double bogeys in their opening rounds so for them to now be in the position they are just two behind the 36 hole leads speaks for a level of golfing maturity beyond their years. Both were considered teenage golfing superstars but both took some time to emerge as the players their earlier performances had promised. Their performance over the weekend will be of immense interest but so too will the progress or otherwise of many others.
Niclas Fasth is a player good enough to have finished runner up to David Duval at the Open Championship in 2001 and is a grinding type of player who might be good enough to go on with it while the other at 2 over is Ames who has already a proven capacity to handle tough golf courses and conditions.
There are many others who have made the cut that will not yet consider themselves out of contention.
Tiger Woods appeared to be heading for a big number but in his typical style, despite playing well below his best, was able to fight his way to a 74 and at just five behind, he is very much the man for those ahead to watch. Today Woods made one of the great bogeys when, at the his 11th hole he got up and down from the downslope of the back bunker for a bogey that kept him at four over and still in the hunt. It was a hole on which he could well have racked up any number but he found a way and save a shot or two that may yet prove crucial in 48 hours time.
Geoff Ogilvy had all but blown his chances when he reached the turn in 40 then dropped another shot at his 10th hole to be 7 over for the tournament. Three consecutive birdies followed and although he dropped two further shots on the way in for 75 and a 6 over par total, that stretch of holes will have once again reminded Ogilvy that you are hardly ever out of a tournament of this type. He certainly is not.
Paul Casey’s round of 66 today when only one other player (Ames 69) broke 70 may well be consider one of the great rounds of US Open golf. If he goes on to win the event people will look back and put this round in the same category of that of Johnny Miller’s 63 in 1973.
The next best of the Australians after Baddeley, are Ogilvy and Appleby who are both at 6 over and who will be not only considering themselves chances of being the leading Australian but serious chances of yet taking the title. Nick O’Hern, Mathew Goggin, Marcus Fraser and New Zealander, Michael Campbell also made the cut.
This Championship has many twists and turns yet to eventuate and given that it may yet be a winning score of 7 or 8 over taking the title on Sunday, the chances are too many to identify. Suffice to say, however, it will take an incredibly patient and headstrong golfer to handle what appears to be an increasingly difficult golf course.