OAKMONT, Pa. — Despite playing soft and soggy on Thursday and most of Friday, Oakmont Country Club did eventually bare its fangs, driving up scores and dragging down golfers into Saturday’s extended second round.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was Rory McIlroy, who came into the week as a close favorite to win at a soft-playing Oakmont. After making four birdies on his front nine, the World No. 3 four-putted the par-4 3rd for a double bogey. Dancing around the cutline, he then drove his tee shot on the ninth into a bunker en route to a bogey and a one-over par 71 to miss the cut by one stroke.
Phil Mickelson (74-73), in pursuit of the evasive career grand slam, played 34 holes on Friday. He improved upon his first round by one shot but couldn’t do much more than wait as play continued Saturday, the cutline edging upward.
“I actually thought I played really well, except I let four or five par putts kind of slide, and all of a sudden [if I had made those] I’d be two over and right in it,” Mickelson said Friday. “You can’t do that here because you don’t have those birdie opportunities to offset those mistakes.”
Rickie Fowler (76-75) never got anything going at Oakmont, whose opening round included six bogeys and a double. Saturday’s second round featured a couple of birdies, but not enough to keep him around this weekend. This is the second straight missed cut at a U.S. Open for Fowler, and his second straight missed cut at a major after making a Friday exit at Augusta National earlier this year.
Even being a previous U.S. Open champion didn’t give many players that extra edge: Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, Geoff Ogilvy, Retief Goosen, Ernie Els and Lucas Glover all failed make the cut.
Other notables to miss the cut at the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont include Brandt Snedeker (80, 71), Jimmy Walker (75, 76), Keegan Bradley (71, 78), Hideki Matsuyama (74, 78), J.B. Holmes (76, 73), and Smylie Kaufman (77,76).