BETHESDA, Md. – This probably was not what Mike Davis envisioned for the first U.S. Open at Congressional since William Jefferson Clinton was set up in the White House, a leader mowing down 36-hole scoring records and a double-digit under par total for the champion almost inevitable.
And there doesn’t seem to be any letup in sight for the affable executive director of the U.S. Golf Association. Overnight rains continued to soften the Blue Course and green speeds hovered around 13 on the Stimpmeter, more than a full foot slower than Davis had anticipated.
“I talked with Mike Davis this morning,” said Webb Simpson, who continued the assault on Congressional with a third-round 66. “You can tell he just wanted to get the greens a little firmer, but up here in the Northeast it’s so hard when the weather is like this.”
According to Simpson, Saturday’s pins are tucked into more difficult positions, particularly at the 10th hole where the pin is cut atop a center spine and officials opined in the day’s “course setup” sheet that “a ball hit over the green will almost surely be a bogey.”
Davis & Co. also set up the risk/reward par-5 sixth hole for more risk than reward, playing from nearly the tips with a pin cut five paces from the left edge. Still, there doesn’t appear to be much the USGA can do to stop the onslaught with Saturday’s scoring average (72.95) already a full stroke lower than Thursday’s (74.10).