ERIN, Wis. – Paul Casey was cruising along at 7 under and was tied for the lead at Erin Hills when the U.S. Open happened.
The Englishman misplayed his layup at the par-5 14th hole into the right rough, caught a flyer with his third shot that sailed long into a clump of fescue, and advanced his next shot about a half-foot.
By the time he made his way to the 15th tee, he’d penciled in a triple bogey-8 and had fallen three strokes off the pace, but he was far from finished.
“I asked [caddie John McLaren] if he was alright because he was incredibly quiet. And he was like, ‘Oh, fine, I'm good,’” Casey laughed.
After a bogey at the 15th hole, Casey rolled off five consecutive birdies on his way to a 1-under 71 that moved him back to 7 under for the week.
“Not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an 8 on the card, but I'm a pretty happy man,” he said. “It was a bit of a roller coaster. It’s rare where you get through a U.S. Open or any major without some kind of hiccup.”
Casey, who played only one practice round this week at Erin Hills, has just a single top-10 finish at the U.S. Open (2007), but he’s having one of his most consistent seasons with 10 top-25 finishes and a tie for third at the Safeway Open in October.