Ricky Barnes 36-hole leader at Bethpage

By Doug FergusonJune 20, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Ricky Barnes had the best day of anyone at Bethpage Black.
 
He only had to play nine holes. He knocked in a 45-foot birdie putt that put him in the record books with the lowest 36-hole score in U.S. Open history. He had a one-shot lead going into the third round. And he still hasnt hit a shot in the rain.
 
Right when the water-logged U.S. Open began to gain traction, a burst of showers halted the third round Saturday about a half-hour before Barnes and Lucas Glover, who was one shot behind, were to tee off.
 
It didnt take long for the saturated greens to be submerged, and the squeegees were simply no match. The 60 players who made the cut, including defending champion Tiger Woods a whopping 11 shots off the lead, now have to wait at least until noon Sunday when the third round was scheduled to resume. A Monday finish is guaranteed.
 
109th U.S. Open
Once again, heavy rains forced fans to leave Bethpage under umbrellas. (Getty Images)
The U.S. Open hasnt dealt with weather like this in 25 years.
 
Even more unusual were the red numbers under par ' not to mention the names next to them on the leaderboard.
 
Not many could have imagined the U.S. Opens 36-hole scoring record being set at Bethpage Black, a beast of a course. Even fewer could have predicted it would belong to Barnes, who took six years to reach the PGA Tour and has yet to crack the top 40 this year.
 
He knocked in the long birdie putt on his 17th hole ' the par-3 eighth ' and shot a 65 in the rain-delayed second round Saturday morning that put him at 8-under 132. That broke the previous mark by one shot.
 
Obviously, at the beginning of the week, you didnt think that score was out there, Barnes said.
 
It sure wasnt for Woods, whose bid to get back into contention was stalled by too many bogeys. Woods had to settle for a 69, leaving him 11 shots out of the lead.
 
The scoring was so easy that Glover had a 20-foot birdie putt on his final hole to match the U.S. Open record of 63. He came up short and had to settle for a share of the course record, set the day before by Mike Weir.
 
Im a little ashamed I did leave it short, Glover said. But I played well. Probably as good a round of golf as Ive played.
 
With no chance the course can get firm and fast, no record is safe.
 
Birdies were dropping from all corners of the course ' first in the morning by players completing their second rounds, and even some in the afternoon when the players on the wrong end of the draw tried hopelessly to catch up.
 
About the only thing not falling was the heavy rain predicted for early afternoon ' but not for long.
 
Woods and Mickelson, desperately trying to catch up, each scrambled for par on opposite sides of the golf course, when the umbrellas came down, the rain grew stronger and play was suspended.
 
How benign is Bethpage Black?
 
There already have been 45 scores in the 60s, compared with 26 scores for the week in the 2002 U.S. Open on the same course. Most of them came from the side of the draw that played 36 holes over the last two days without a drop of rain and mostly sunshine in the sky.
 
Barnes was on the good side.
 
If you would have told me I would have been 8 under and only a one-shot lead, I would have said, Youre kidding me, Barnes said. But Ill take it. It was solid play.
 
Lee Westwood of England had a 66 and was at 2-under 138, the only player from the other side of the draw among the top 11.
 
I actually set out today to win my side of the draw because I felt that it was a good target and all I could do given how dramatic the split was between the two sides, Westwood said. I am very pleased with that effort.
 
Steve Stricker, in his hotel room Friday as the others took aim at the flags, did his best to make up ground with a 66, leaving him 1 under for the tournament and seven shots behind in a group that included Phil Mickelson, who scratched out a 70.
 
You realize you got the short end of the stick, Stricker said. I watched it yesterday and it was a birdiefest, and everybody that they showed was flying it in there and making birdies left and right. And we were struggling to make pars and stuff like that. But you cant dwell on that. Even par was my goal today, and I did one better.
 
Weir followed his 64 with a 70 and was two shots behind. David Duval rallied from a sluggish start for a 70 that put him in the group at 3-under 137.
 
Woods appeared poised to climb quickly, but for every birdie he made to build some momentum, a bogey stopped him. Woods hit 10 fairways and only missed four greens, but took 30 putts.
 
Unfortunately, my score doesnt reflect how Ive been playing, he said. It is what it is. But you never know. Ive got 36 more holes over the next probably three days.
 
He was joking ' maybe.
 
The forecast, which can no longer be trusted at the U.S. Open, was for a chance of rain the next two days. Finishing the second round, however, at least gave the tournament a chance to finish on schedule with a marathon Sunday. That would mean 36 holes for a dozen players, including the leaders.
 
It also helped that only the minimum 60 players made the cut at 4-over 144. Among those headed home ' and some were thankful to get out of this quagmire ' were double major winner Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and Paul Casey.
 
Woods at least has hope.
 
Its just one of those things where if I keep plugging along like any U.S. Open well see where it ends up, said Woods, who was made aware that the largest 36-hole comeback to win this major was 11 shots by Lou Graham in 1975 at Medinah.
 
Mickelson didnt make the most out of his good break in the weather, failing to make key putts and struggling again on the par-5 13th. In the second round, he drove into grass so deep he had to take a penalty shot for relief and took bogey. Mickelson is 3 over on that hole for the week.
 
Even so, he showed his imagination on the tough 15th by blasting a 19-degree hybrid out of rough so deep he could barely see his ball, from 164 yards to a 40-foot elevated green. It climbed onto the green for a safe two-putt par.
 
I like the position Im in, Mickelson said. I think that if I can get hot with the putter, I like my chances in the next two rounds.
 
Related Links:
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.