Visibly worn out and moving gingerly, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore looked like a man who had just completed an all-day, 25-mile hike up the tallest mountain.
He was tackling the Mount Everest of United States Open golf courses at hilly Oakmont Country Club.
And it wasn’t just one round he played Friday, it was a long 36 holes.
After going out in 5-over in his front nine holes, Moore righted the ship to play the final 27 holes in 1-over, finishing at 6-over 146.
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At the end of Friday, Moore stood tied for 72nd , which would be outside the cut line. But there are not only golfers still on the course who need to finish their 36 holes, there is also a wave of 78 players waiting to tee off to begin their second round Saturday.
“I would be very happy and comfortable at 5-(over),” said Moore, who has missed the cut in three of his past four U.S. Open appearances, including last year at Chambers Bay. “I am 75 percent comfortable at 6-(over). It is such a hard course.”
The only real bad hole Moore had was at the ninth hole in the morning. His tee shot to the long, uphill par 4 strayed right into a waste area. And his second shot got caught in the long grass. He ended up making his only score of bogey or worse — a double bogey.
“I thought I hit a good recovery shot,” Moore said. “I was surprised what happened, and I compounded (the problem) after that.”
Moore played the next 18 holes — the last nine of his first round, and the first nine of his second round — on the more forgiving back side. He played those holes collectively at 1-under, making four birdies.
One of those birdies was a near-ace at the 13th hole, playing 167 yards. His 8-iron tee shot tracked right at the hole, stopping 2 feet from the cup.
And he actually came closer to an eagle-2 at No. 7. His 6-iron from 201 yards stopped 10 feet in front, rolled up and hit the flag stick — and kicked some six inches left of the hole.
“I nearly made three golf shots, and I am not sure how that one did not go in because it hit a lot of the hole,” Moore said.
“But I didn’t putt how I liked to … Unfortunately the only ones I made were my tap-ins for birdie.”
Moore missed a 5-footer on No. 8 — his 35th hole of the day — for par, then three-putted from 30 feet for another bogey at his final hole at No. 9.
Asked if he was relieved that he got in all 36 holes in one day, rather than be part of a wave that has to start the second round Saturday, Moore responded succinctly.
“This sucks. It is terrible to not only play 36 holes, but have to do it on the hardest golf course on the planet — with deep rough,” he said. “This was not very enjoyable, but I would rather do this than (play) on and off (Thursday) and sit (Friday).”