BETHESDA, Md. – After two rounds of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club, the 156-man field was whittled down to 72 players and, in the process, lost some significant firepower.
Among the notable players left outside that cut line were World No. 10 Paul Casey; Hunter Mahan; Scotland’s Martin Laird; Rickie Fowler; 2007 U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera; Adam Scott; World No. 14 Nick Watney; Ben Crane; Australian Aaron Baddeley; Mark Wilson; World No. 13 Ian Poulter; Robert Karlsson; 2003 U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk; Justin Rose; David Toms; 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman; Francisco Molinari; Jonathan Byrd; 1994 and ‘97 U.S. Open champion Ernie Els; Ryan Moore; 2005 U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell; KJ Choi; Robert Allenby and 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy.
“Too many mistakes,” Fowler said after his 5-over 147. “I think that yesterday I played my last four three over, today I played my last three 2-over with a birdie, so bad swings at the wrong time. Bad clubs.”
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Fowler was not alone. Poulter was hitting it well coming into the week, but after two rounds of 75-73 (+6), the Englishman is on his way back over the pond.
“I’m pissed off. It’s plain and simple,” Poulter said on Friday. “I missed one fairway today, and that one being a par 5. So I think it was a par 5 that was reachable so I laid up and made my par on that. No excuses. Simple. I had a shot at every single green, because I hit it in play.”
A two-time winner on the Tour in 2011, Mark Wilson found Congressional a very long and difficult golf course, but was up for the challenge. Unfortunately his game in the first round didn’t meet the challenge with a 78, but he followed it with a 1-under 70.
“I can’t turn my game on and off like some players can, so I go out there and I feel like I prepared properly and did everything right,” Wilson said. “I just had a bad ball-striking day the first round and that cost me playing the weekend. “
Toms was more blunt in his assessment of his chances at Congressional this week.
“I had absolutely no chance to win this golf tournament,” Toms said after missing the cut.
K.J. Choi won the 2007 AT&T National at Congressional, but his two-day total of 8-over 150 was not even close to making the cut in a U.S. Open setup. In his 11 U.S. Open starts, Choi has missed the cut six times, with his best finish a 15th in 2005.
“Totally different,” Choi said of Congressional’s setup this week. “Some holes, the tees are not in line with the fairways, like the ninth hole and the fifth. The tees are further back and more left and forces you to hit more draw shots.”