Golf Buzz

June 19, 2016 - 1:20pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Devin Gee
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Devin Gee, the PGA Head Professional at Oakmont, stepped in as a playing marker for Justin Hicks during Sunday's final round of the 116th U.S. Open.

It's been an incredible few years for PGA Professional Devin Gee.

Since 2013, Gee has been the head professional of Oakmont Country Club, one of the country's most storied golf courses, transitioning to replace a legend in Bob Ford, who has played in 10 PGA Championships and three U.S. Opens and will officially retire in October.

Gee is just the third head professional in Oakmont's 69-year history. The head pro before Ford -- Lew Worsham -- won the 1947 U.S. Open at St. Louis Country Club.

While Gee hasn't accumulated the impressive number of starts of his predecessors in major champions, he did get a little taste on Sunday, when he was a playing marker for PGA Tour player Justin Hicks.

When there's an odd number of players that make the cut in a tournament, players can take a playing marker for pace of play purposes. Gee wasn't needed for the third round. Because of the weather interruptions early in the tournament, the third round featured threesomes off two tees. When the final round went back to traditional twosomes off the first tee, Hicks was the odd man out without a playing partner.

Gee was able to step in.

Here's a look at Gee's tee shot on the first hole:

 

Playing markers are a common thing in professional golf. There may be none more famous, however, than amateur Jeff Knox, a member of Augusta National and the designated marker each year at the Masters when duty calls.

You can learn more about Knox here.

Only Hicks, Gee and the spectators following their twosome will know how the Oakmont professional fared, as marker's do not keep a score and typically pick up and got out of the way on an especially nasty hole.

Regardless of what he shoots, it will be a memory Gee won't soon forget. 

June 19, 2016 - 12:55pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Nick Hardy
USA Today Sports Images
Amateur Nick Hardy, playing in his second consecutive U.S. Open, called his dad under the ropes Saturday with two holes to go in his second round to have his dad caddie them into the house.

Amateur Nick Hardy, a sophomore on the University of Illinois men's golf team, qualified for his second U.S. Open at Oakmont this past week.

Hardy missed the cut by four strokes with rounds of 77-73 (10 over total), but provided a memory his father is sure to never forget. U.S. Open Sunday falls on Father's Day after all, and since he wouldn't be playing he had to do something.

RELATED: U.S. Open leaderboard | U.S. Open photos | Lowry takes 54-hole lead

The 20-year-old Hardy, knowing his chances of making the cut were slim to none late in his second round on Saturday, decided to have his caddie take the final two holes off so his father, John, could carry the bag, inside the ropes and alongside his son to cap off the week.

Papa Hardy was incredibly appreciative of his son's gesture:

 

Nick Hardy finished T52 in his first U.S. Open start a year ago at Chambers Bay, thanks to a 68 in the final round. 

jon rahm, us open
Twitter / USGA
Amateur Jon Rahm holes out from the fairway on the 12th hole, earning a high five from playing partners Justin Hicks and Bubba Watson.

Jon Rahm is the only amateur in the field to make the cut at this year's U.S. Open, earning a third round pairing with Bubba Watson.

Watson is the one known for spectacular shots, but he had to give it up for the two-time Ben Hogan award winner after he spun his approach on the par-5 12th hole and made it disappear in the hole.

Rahm is currently ranked as the number one amateur player in the world, and continues to show flashes of brilliance at Oakmont.

Have you ever holed out from the fairway? How far away was it?

 

 

June 18, 2016 - 5:20pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Lee Westwood
@usopen on Twitter
Lee Westwood is still in search of his first major victory. If he can continue to hit shots like this one, he might be hoisting the U.S. Open trophy on Sunday evening.

Whenever the "best player never to win a major" conversation comes up, Lee Westwood's name is one of the first acknowledged.

He'd love to lose that moniker and had himself in a great position at Oakmont at age 43 to do what his good buddy Darren Clarke did at the same age in the Open Championship -- become a major winner.

Early in Saturday's third round, which didn't begin until after 3 p.m., Westwood displayed some great touch around the green, chipping in this shot for birdie on the second hole to temporarily pull within two shots of leader Dustin Johnson:

 

 

 

Westwood has finished inside the top-10 on 18 occasions at the majors. A win, really, is all he's missing.

UPDATE:

Lee Westwood just keeps making highlights. Just as Dustin Johnson was busy turning in a double-bogey on the third hole, Westwood took the opportunity to hole out from the fifth fairway.

It was his second hole-out of the week, and vaulted him up into a tie for the lead.

What is this guy going to do next? Well for one, maybe win a U.S. Open?

 

 

June 18, 2016 - 3:32pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
usopen.com
After an incredible start to his second round of the U.S. Open, Rory McIlroy looked to be in contention. However, a couple of big-time, back-nine blunders cost him a chance to make the cut.

Rory McIlroy needed to rally to make the cut in his second round of the U.S. Open on Saturday. After a terrific start that included a front-nine 31, it looked as if McIlroy might be positioning himself to contend -- not just to make the cut.

Alas, Oakmont bit back in a hurry.

McIlroy four-putted for a double-bogey on his 12th hole -- three of those from inside 3 feet.

When he made it to the ninth hole -- his final hole in the second round -- Mcilroy was sitting on the cutline at 6 over, needing a par to advance to the final 36 holes.

His tee shot sailed wide right into a nasty fairway bunker. From there, he proceeded to do this:

 

That ended any chance of making the cut. McIlroy would make a double bogey to finish at 8 over and suffer his first missed cut in a major since the 2013 Open Championship.

After the round, the four-time major champion declined an interview request before leaving Oakmont.

Tough week.  

June 18, 2016 - 2:36pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and many other big-time names in golf failed to make the 36-hole cut in the 116th U.S. Open.

It was a day late, but the 36-hole cut in the 116th U.S. Open finally came just after 2 p.m. on Saturday.

In all, 67 players advanced to the final two rounds of play when the cut fell at 6-over 146.

Notables to miss the cut included major champions Rory McIlroy (+8), Phil Mickelson (+7), Geoff Ogilvy (+7), Justin Rose (+8), David Toms (+9), Ernie Els (+10), Retief Goosen (+10) and Webb Simpson (+11).

RELATED: U.S. Open leaderboard | Saturday's best photos | Eagles galore

It was just the third time in his career that Mickelson missed the cut in the U.S. Open and the first since 2007 when the tournament was last played at Oakmont. It's the first time in his career that Mickelson has missed the cut in both the Masters and The U.S. Open.

Rickie Fowler (+11), Jimmy Walker (+11), Brandt Snedeker (+11), Luke Donald (+8), Tony Finau (+7), Patrick Reed (+8) and Chris Kirk (+8) also missed out on the weekend.

Dustin Johnson has a one-shot advantage at 4 under over little-known Andrew Landry heading into the third round. This will be the ninth time Johnsin has been in the top-5 through 36 holes in a major since 2010, which is the most of anyone in that span.

Johnson, of course, is still in search of his first major victory.