Surprise Leaders Returns to Earth in Rd 2


2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- Justin Hicks scurried around Torrey Pines Golf Course on Friday, his 15 minutes of fame slipping away as he tried so desperately to stay off the clock.
The surprising co-first round leader at the U.S. Open melted down with a second-round 9-over-par 80 after being told on the first green that his group was running five minutes late and had better pick up the pace.
You know, having the lead at the U.S. Open is not something Im used to dealing with on a daily basis and you accompany that with, Oh yeah, youre behind. You need to pick it up, kind of got me going on a different gear that I wasnt really ready to play in, said the 33-year-old mini-tour veteran.
Before he could catch his breath, Hicks was in the throes of a miserable round that included an astonishing eight bogeys and one double-bogey.
Kevin Streelman, another little-known golfer who shared the 18-hole, one-stroke lead with Hicks, shot a 6-over 77 in the morning.
Hicks teed off in the afternoon and by the sixth hole he and playing partners Derek Fathauer and Scott Piercy were indeed put on the clock for dawdling.
Six, seven and eight, we just absolutely are running, trying to do our best out there, Hicks said. And its tough playing a course like this knowing youve got 40 seconds to hit a shot when you get to your ball.
Its not like this is your neighborhood golf course out here. The greens are obviously very severe. The rough is very severe. Theres wind. And, meanwhile, youre trying to run around this place and not get tagged for a penalty.
Hicks said Thursday he didnt want to be that guy who has his 15 minutes of fame and then disappears.
Yet, here he was, admittedly bothered on the front nine by the threat of penalty for slow play, and he made the turn in 39, then bogeyed his first three on the back nine to fall to 8-over after 12 holes.
I knew today was going to be a tough day after yesterday, Hicks said. I hit a lot of fairways yesterday and I saw some putts go in. Its a major. Its the first time in my life Ive been under par in an Open. I was tied for the lead going into the day.
All that went right on Day 1 went wrong in the second round, where he had just two birdies after making eight in the first round.
Its been an interesting 24 hours, Hicks said.
For Streelman, too.
Streelman went from overnight sensation to insomniac by 2:30 a.m., and his nightmare materialized before his bloodshot eyes just a few hours later.
His triple-bogey on the third hole dropped the PGA TOUR rookie and worlds 608th-ranked player from the leaderboard and sent him on his way to a 6-over 77 that was also besmirched by two double-bogeys.
If Thursday morning I would have said 3-over at a U.S. Open through two rounds, I would have taken it, a still-smiling Streelman said. Im a little bit disappointed in how I played today, but hopefully its my bad round and Ive got to make a move tomorrow.
As suspected, Streelman had a fitful nights rest, but he didnt blame that for his multitude of mistakes.
His comedown started on the par-3, 195-yard third hole, where his shot landed in the bunker shy of the green. He chipped back on, then three-putted for a 6, bringing him back down to earth and even par.
Im happy I hung in for the most part after that, Streelman said.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Open