BETHESDA, Md. – On the longest hole on Congressional – the 636-yard No. 9 – the second shots hit by Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen ended up touching each other in Thursday’s first round at the U.S. Open.
“Yeah, that’s something that you probably will never see again,” Oosthuizen said. “Graeme laid up with a hybrid, I laid up with a 3-iron, and we got to the balls and they were touching each other, lying next to each other. You know, on the green you see it now and then, but I’ve never seen it on the fairway.”
McDowell moved his ball so that Oosthuizen could play first.
“Thankful he didn’t remove a huge piece of turf,” McDowell said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do to recreate my lie if he had taken a huge divot. He picked it off the turf quite cleanly.”
FUNK’S A FAVORITE: The hometown galleries gave Fred Funk all they could. He just didn’t have enough length to handle Congressional.
The 55-year-old local and former golf coach at the University of Maryland opened with a 75 Thursday at the U.S. Open.
“It’s a long hombre for me,” Funk said. “No. 11, I couldn’t reach. I laid up on that one, so that played par 5 for me. I knew that coming in. I went around after I qualified last week and saw all the new tees and went, ‘Uh, oh.”’
Funk teared up when he qualified for the tournament at nearby Woodmont Country Club. His goal is to make it to the weekend in what he says will be his last major in his old stomping grounds.
“I’m sure, like the rotation is, I’ll be 110 the next time it comes around,” he said.
If it doesn’t take that long, Funk has an idea of how he might take part when the championship does return to Congressional. His caddie is his 15-year-old son, Taylor, who carries a 1 handicap.
“The next time it comes around,” Funk said, “I’ll caddie for him.”
HAVRET’S HEART: The U.S. Open is the first event for Gregory Havret since the death of his father, who followed the Frenchman during his second-place finish at last year’s championship at Pebble Beach.
Havret opened with a 77 Thursday at Congressional.
“It was a pretty tough day,” he said. “I putted quite badly all day long.”