Notes An Aussies Bingo Lubed Up Mechanic


2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- With a 45-foot putt on the par-5 18th, Stuart Appleby rolled into the lead of the U.S. Open and knocked out 11 players, including 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson.
Bingo, the Australian said about his putt that gave him a 1-under 70 and a two-day total of 3-under 139. Hes a stroke ahead of Tiger Woods, Rocco Mediate and Robert Karlsson.
Applebys putt certainly was worth a salutation of Good on ya, mate.
He got his line right and tried not to hit it too hard.
Typical stuff when youre at 50 feet, he said. Youre trying to just use your natural feel. I hit it and I thought, Well, that looks up, it doesnt look long. Because it didnt have that feeling off the putter. Probably a couple seconds out, I thought, This could go in. Then the crowd does their thing, and it all adds to what looks like a good putt.
Had the putt missed, Johnson and 10 other players who were 8-over-par would have made the cut to play the weekend. Instead, their tournament was over.
Also missing the cut were two of the last three U.S. Open winners. Defending champion Angel Cabreras struggles on Torrey Pines South Course ended with a 13-over 155, and 2005 champion Michael Campbell shot 83 on Friday to drop to 19-over 161.
In all, 80 of the 156 players made the weekend, including Irishman Padraig Harrington and Spaniard Sergio Garcia, who both had been in danger of missing the cut.
Harrington, the reigning British Open champion, started the day seven strokes over par, but his 4-under-par 67 Friday was the second-best round of the tournament and gave him a two-round total of 3-over 145.
Garcia shot a 1-under 70 in the second round for a 146 total. After starting 6 over for his first seven holes Thursday, he was 2 under for his last 29.
I knew I made four birdies yesterday and I said to myself if I can make four more today and keep the rest of it tidy, I knew Id have a good score. I was aiming for 69, but 67 is a nice return. It even felt like it might have been one or two better than that.
Harrington kept it tidy all right, by playing bogey-free golf. He said the difference from the first round to the second was that he just holed the odd par putt here and there.
I am in good shape in the championship now and if the wind picks up and the greens firm up, well see where I am at the end of the day, he said. The positive thing is that Im right back in the tournament and Ill try to have a great weekend.
Three amateurs also made the cut: Derek Fathauer at 146, Michael Thompson at 147 and Rickie Fowler at 149. No amateurs made it the last two years.
Cabrera was the second defending champion in three years to miss the cut. Campbell failed to make it at Winged Foot in New York two years ago after winning the 2005 Open at Pinehurst.
Cabrera opened at Torrey Pines with an 8-over 79 and followed that with a 76 on Friday for a 13-over 155.
Mark OMeara, the 1998 Masters and British Open winner, was among those who missed the cut by a stroke, but he took it in stride.
Im 51. What the hell. Im out here, he said.
OMeara once lived in San Diego County and won the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines in 1997.
Theres nothing The Mechanic needs to do to fix his golf swing.
Miguel Angel Jimenez played his way into contention by shooting a 5-under 66 to move within two shots of leader Stuart Appleby.
Jimenez hit 15 of 18 greens, made seven birdies against two bogeys and made up a lot of ground after his opening 75.
Every chance I had for birdie, I made the birdie, the Spaniard said.
Jimenez, who finished eighth at the Masters but is still looking for his first major championship at age 44, gave himself a chance to do just that with the round of the tournament.
Its very important, he said of his chances of winning a major. This is my 26th year on the tour, and Im 44. I would love to have one for my career.
Jimenez, who got his nickname because of his affinity for high-performance vehicles, is not only hitting the ball well but playing with a lot of confidence. He is coming off a win in his last tournament, the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour, where he has won twice this year.
Hes also getting a break in the smoking department. Jimenez likes to enjoy a cigar on the course and he can at Torrey Pines, which is non-smoking for everyone outside the ropes but allows smoking inside them.
Zach Johnson made only four birdies to go along with eight bogeys and two double bogeys in his 36-hole total of 8-over 150, but he was more concerned with the situation in his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where rising floodwaters Friday forced the evacuation of a downtown hospital and sent thousands of residents fleeing for higher ground.
Im playing golf, you know? In the grand scheme of things, it really means nothing, the 2007 Masters champion said. Im trying as hard as I can out here. Im not saying my play has anything to do with the situation back home, but its on my mind. Its impossible not to be.
You look at all the situations that have gone on, the tornadoes, obviously the flooding, and, you know, Im chasing a white ball, Johnson said. So the deaths from the tornadoes and certainly the evacuations from the floods, thats perspective right there. Im very lucky.
Johnson said his mothers office at the Archdiocese of Eastern Iowa was under water and she didnt know when shed be able to return to work. His fathers chiropractic clinic, also downtown, is closed, with sandbags surrounding the sewer system.
My charitys there, too, Johnson said. Its probably under water. I dont know.
So who could really blame him for all those bogeys?
When youre trying to focus on your nations event, your nations Open, its extremely difficult to focus. I pride myself on being mentally strong, but its hard, Johnson said. Its very difficult.
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