Mike Weir got off to a slow start with two bogeys in his first four holes, but the Canadian has since bounced back with an eagle and two birdies and just one bogey to get to 1 under through 12 holes. Weir has of course never won his country’s national championship -- the last Canadian to win this tournament was Pat Fletcher in 1954. -- Brian Wacker
There are a smattering of low-ish numbers here in the third round -- nine players currently on the course are under par. But others, like Mike Weir, are going the opposite direction. Weir has more bogeys (6) than pars (5) right now and nearly as many double bogeys with three of them through 14 holes. Throw in an eagle from the fairway on the par-4 fourth and it all adds up to Weir being 10 over through 15 holes. That opening-round 70 suddenly seems like a long, long time ago.
Tom Watson, on the other hand, is 3 under through 12 holes with our birdies and just one bogey. The man is simply ageless. Even at 60 years old and 4 over for the week, he’s not entirely out of it just yet. One big reason Watson is hanging around for the weekend: He’s hitting nearly 73 percent of his fairways. He’s also making some putts with a putting average of 1.71. -- Brian Wacker
Mike Weir has never won a PGA TOUR event at Pebble Beach. But he has put himself in contention several times. In fact, in his last 11 starts at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, he's finished inside the top 10 seven times, including a couple of seconds.
Weir has never won the U.S. Open either. But again, he has put himself in contention several times. In his last seven U.S. Open starts, he has finished outside the top 20 just once, and inside the top 10 four times, including a tie for third in 2003.
So it should be no surprise that the combination of Pebble Beach and the U.S. Open should work in Weir's favor. He certainly showed why in Thursday's first round with a 1-under 70 that left him in a tie for the clubhouse lead after the morning wave.
"You definitely feel that comfort level of playing a golf course that you've played well on," Weir said about Pebble Beach. "You see the shots -- even though the course is set up a little differently -- you have your trees that you're aiming at and your targets.
"I know how to play the golf course. It's just a matter of being able to execute it. ... I'm not searching around for what I'm doing out there as far as game plan it goes."
And about playing well in previous U.S. Opens?
"I think I would say just the grind, more than anything," said Weir, whose last win came in 2007 at the Fry's Electronics Open. "I enjoy that challenge. I look at it that way. I think that more than anything that's probably why I've done well in the U.S. Opens because I know it's tough. I know it's going to be tough. You know every 3-footer is going to be tough.
"So I think that I just enjoy that."
Weir was working through a rollercoaster round through his first 11 holes and found himself 1 over at the point. But then he strung together three straight birdies, parred the 15th, then added another birdie when he chipped in at the 16th to suddenly get to 3 under.
"That was a bonus," Weir said about his chip. "I was hoping to hit a great shot like I did there. I hit a great one, landed where I wanted and just happened to hit the flag. The best I could have done there is 10 feet, and that looked like probably what it was going to be. And I would be happy with that to leave myself a 10-footer uphill.
"I didn't want to land it absolutely perfect and leave it short in the rough and have the same shot again. One of those ones you take a big swing and it came out nice. It's a good shot, but there's a little luck involved in that one."
But the momentum came to half when he had to cool his heels at the par-3 17th, waiting to hit his tee shot. Caught between clubs, he hit a hard 4-iron, didn't find the green and couldn't get up and down. He bogeyed that hole and the last to leave a bad taste.
"You don't want to finish a round like that," Weir said. "It's never a good thing. But it wasn't because I was looking at the scoreboard and looking at where I am in the tournament. ... It's Thursday, and I just happened to hit a couple of poor shots."
All in all, though, a pretty good position for Weir. -- Mike McAllister
MIKE WEIR'S STATISTICS IN THE FIRST ROUND
|Driving distance||Fairways hit||Greens in regulation||Putts needed||Sand saves|
|263.5 yards||7 of 14||9 of 18||26||1 of 1|
The way his round started, K.J. Choi probably didn't expect to be tied for the lead after the morning wave of the 110th U.S. Open.
Choi bogeyed the first hole and then made a three-putt double on the second. He recovered extremely well, though, with birdies on Nos. 4, 6 and 9 to turn in even par.
Choi then added three more birdies in his first five holes on the back nine to move to 3 under and into sole possession of the lead. He bogeyed two of his last three, though, and is now tied with his playing partner, Mike Weir, and Ian Poulter and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
"My body is very cold this morning," Choi said. "... I'm comfortable swinging after 4, 5, 6, more in the nature of my shot, and very strong finish today. Every day even par is a very good situation."
The round of 1 under tied for Choi's lowest ever in a U.S. Open. He shot 69s in the first rounds of the 2005 Open at Pinehurst and the '02 renewal at Bethpage Black. His best finish, a tie for 15th, came in 2005.
"So I'm so happy today," Choi said. "After two holes and then comfortable and I'm twice in three-putt. Uphill alternatives slow, but downhill I don't understand how far downhill, so I hit it twice in three-putt. But more practice downhill, tomorrow is more better."
Choi said he profited from his pairing on Thursday with Weir and Tim Clark, who finished with a 72.
"Mike is a good friend of mine, long time on the PGA TOUR, and Presidents Cup twice, and very, very nice man, play very well," Choi said. "His short game is great. “
Choi said the tee shots are extremely demanding at Pebble Beach.
"This course it looks like is wide open fairway, but in the teeing ground, hitting before in the mindset, in the right, in the left, either way is very tough in the bunker and tough in the rough," he said. "And it can't stop in the bouncing, so very scared on the tee shot."
We now have eight players tied for the lead at 1 under – three of whom, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Mike Weir and K.J. Choi, are done for the day.
Also in that group are Ian Poulter, who has two holes remaining; Jason Dufner, who has three; and Craig Barlow, who has four.
Poulter actually has an 18-footer for birdie at the 17th hole to take sole possession of the lead while Barlow has a 10-footer on the par-5 sixth to do the same.
The afternoon wave is starting to tee off now. Rocco Mediate, who lost the 2008 U.S. Open in a playoff to Tiger Woods, has just birdied his first hole while amateur Morgan Hoffman did the same at No. 2.
So don't be surprised to see very, very little red on the leaderboard.
As Phil Mickelson heads toward his first-round finish, Mike Weir has the lead at 2-under. And only five players, period, are under par at the moment. The lowest anyone has gone? Both Weir and K.J. Choi have gotten to 3-under -- briefly.
USGA setup-man Mike Davis and the course, as usual, are winning this ultimate examination. With a nice breezy assist, of course, from Mother Nature.
Looks like we're in for a four-day survival test. --
Rafael Cabrera-Bello has just posted the first sub-par score of the 110th U.S. Open.
The 26-year-old Spaniard shot a 1-under 70 and stands one stroke behind Mike Weir, who is teeing off on the 18th hole. Also at 1 under are K.J. Choi, who is playing with Weir; Ian Poulter, who has four holes remaining; David Toms, who is through 13 and Craig Barlow, who has six holes to play.
No one else is under par for the tournament right now. Luke Donald, Jim Furyk and Jason Dufner are the only ones at even.
Cabrera-Bello, who has one win on the European Tour, started playing golf when he was 6 on a course in the Canary Islands. His sister Emma competes on the Ladies European Tour. – Helen Ross
Mike Weir has taken over the top spot on the leaderboard -- for now -- thanks to an extremely good chip-in from just off the 16th green. Nestled in the rough on the short side of the green, Weir pitched up and out and into the hole for a pretty improbable 3. That gives Weir four birdies in his last five holes. As a result, the Canadian is 3 under and in the lead by one on what easily could have been a two-shot swing. -- Brian Wacker
Right now the cut line is even par, and unless things get significantly more difficult this afternoon at TPC Sawgrass, it's not likely to move much.
In fact, Jay Haas thinks players who finish at even par are definitely out of luck. That would include Haas himself, who's even through 36 holes.
"I would think there is no chance," Haas said. "One under is kind of iffy, so even par is definitely out."
Here are the notables who have already finished their second rounds at even par or higher and likely making alternate plans for the weekend.
|Jay Haas||Even||Was 2 under until a double bogey at the last hole left him with a bad taste|
|Justin Rose||Even||Bogeyed the final hole when he found the water|
|Geoff Ogilvy||Even||Was 2 under early in his round, but three bogeys in a eight-hole stretch did him in|
|Padraig Harrington||1 over||Was at even par until a double-bogey at No. 6 (his 15th hole of the day) sealed his fate|
|Rory McIlroy||1 over||Was at 1 under after three straight birdies early in his round, but a double bogey at 10 derailed him|
|Mike Weir||2 over||Shot 74 on Friday, including a double bogey at 14|
|Rickie Fowler||3 over||Hot rookie came in with top 10s in his last two starts, but couldn't make anything happen on Friday|