SAN FRANCISCO - Subdued and extremely humbled, Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley took a seat alone at his locker late Friday afternoon in The Olympic Club clubhouse.
He took off his sunglasses, rubbed his eyes and stared down at the rug in front of him - almost in shock.
It was a day of bad breaks for Stanley, then down the stretch, a mistake-filled brand of golf at the 112th U.S. Open on the Lake Course.
Heading into his final eight holes, he was right in the thick of it. But once again, the gauntlet stretch of Nos. 1 through 6 took another victim. The Bellarmine Prep graduate made three double bogeys en route to a 7-over-par 77 in the second round.
His two-round total of 10-over 150 left him tied for 96th. He has now missed the cut in two of his three U.S. Open appearances.
And this season, he has missed the cut in six of his past eight tournaments – including both majors (The Masters).
“The feeling I have right now,” Stanley said, “is I am almost used to this. I’ve got to keep on grinding.
“It is a process. I’ve got to keep trying to get better. U.S. Opens are hard. They expose weaknesses, and certainly did mine today.”
He was 2-over for the round when he reached the tough par-5 16th hole, which played shorter Friday at 609 yards.
After obliterating a drive, he did what few have tried to do this week: go for the green in two shots.
His 3-wood approach shot found the right-side bunker around the green, but he got up and down for birdie after making a 3-foot putt.
It was the part of the course that allowed Stanley to be in attack mode. He did the same thing at the 17th hole, the second of back-to-back par 5s, by airmailing a 5-iron from 225 yards that landed on the front of the green and released toward the hole.
Except the ball went by the hole, and it kept rolling – eventually catching a sideslope that carried it off the right side of the green, and down a mowed embankment. He made par on the course’s easiest hole.
“Couldn’t believe it released that much,” Stanley said. “It was an awful break. If it lands a foot further, it probably is a tap-in (eagle).”
He saved par by canning a 40-footer at the 18th hole, then made the turn to that grueling stretch.
The double bogeys at Nos. 2, 5 and 6 were all set up by errant drives.
The one that Stanley lamented was at the second hole. His 3-wood tee shot went so far left, it landed close to a concession stands, also located by the third-hole green.
“I was dead over there,” Stanley said.
He was able to advance his second shot on the gallery walkway but mishit a wedge approach on his third shot and ended up missing a 16-footer for bogey.
After that hole, his group was warned for slow play, and put on the clock.
His real last chance to make the cut came at No. 7, a short par 4, where he drove the green and faced an 18-footer for eagle. It slid by on the right side of the hole. By then, the full grind of the tournament was on – it took that group of Stanley, Jonathan Byrd and Patrick Cantlay nearly 45 minutes to play the final two holes.
“We really didn’t get a lot of good breaks, to be honest,” Stanley said. “But it wasn’t so much a grind for me as it was not very good golf.”
ON THE CLOCK
A USGA rules official warned the group of Ian Poulter, Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar that they were about to go on the clock for being out of position.
They sped up, but one hole later, the three stood on the sixth fairway for about five minutes as the group ahead was on the green.
The official told the group they were no longer on the clock, and Poulter angrily responded, “Why are you doing this? This is stupid.”
Among the big names to miss the cut: 2011 U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy (10-over 150), Masters champion Bubba Watson (9-over 149) and world No. 1 Luke Donald (11-over 151). ... NBC Sports had a 2.1 overnight rating and a 6 share for its two-hour coverage of the opening round. That’s up from a 1.4 last year in the first round, and was the highest Thursday rating for the U.S. Open since a 2.1 in 2006, when Tiger Woods returned after his father’s death.
The Associated Press contributed to this firstname.lastname@example.org