Woods was among 10 players within four shots of Koepka, the two-time defending U.S. Open champion who is seeking his third major title in his past six outings. An early birdie in his second round pushed him to -5.
Finau was among five players who accompanied Furyk to France this summer for a scouting trip at Le Golf Nacional, the host course of the September 28-30 Ryder Cup matches.
So much for Woods being exhausted after all that exertion he has expended this year in returning from three back operations. “It was a long day”. I just didn’t make anything. “This golf course is stacked right now and everyone is bunched”.
In contrast, Woods had made the ideal start by holing from 15 feet for birdie on the first and five feet for another on the second, before nearly chipping in on the fourth after finding trouble off the tee. Woods was one of the golfers to not complete his second round.
The best major weekend arguably came at Carnoustie, yet three of the top 5 in the world missed the cut – Johnson (1), Justin Thomas (2) and Rahm (5). He returned first thing Saturday to hit a pitch from 69 yards to six feet, which he converted for birdie to get to 4-under on his round. But what it does offer is a Budweiser wagon full of birdies and eagles.
That’s what impressed Furyk the most – not so much the five birdies, but Finau’s response to the triple bogey.
After birdieing five of his first eight holes and playing the front side in 31 strokes, Woods stalled on the back nine, failing to convert any birdie opportunities and squandering a handsome chance at the par-5 17th, where he three-putted for par. Francesco Molinari zoomed on past him.
Gary Woodland has been at the top of the leader board for three days with the swagger of a dancing bear, but he finally found the altitude too much and took a mortifying 7 at the par-4 10th. At 42, with 79 victories to his name, he has shown enough game to show those huge galleries slowly moving across Bellerive with him that he is not done winning. Joining Koepka in Sunday’s final pairing, at 1:55 p.m. local time, the Aussie is 10 years older than Koepka and is still similarly the physical specimen. On the check list of players who have the tools to turn Bellerive into a pitch-and-putt count the Spaniard atop the list, and like the other members of the cast he’s also not lacking in confidence. “I hit it good on the back nine”.
In the third round, scheduled to begin later Saturday, Finau may be paired with U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk again.
He still could be among Jim Furyk’s four captain’s choices when they are announced Monday.
“Everything will need to be sharp but if I have to pick one it will be driving and putting”, Day said.
“I’m all right with it”, Kisner said.
“Looking back, I’m going through all the scenarios and [the ball] was sitting in a little bit of where an old twig had been in mud and also slightly underground, which means you try to play the low shot, it could pop out high”, he said. “So I’m sure that I’ll be more than just four back by the end of the day, but there aren’t a lot of guys up there in front of me”.
This year? He ranks 120th in back-nine scoring average on the PGA Tour, and is tied for 10th over the front nine.