GOLF

Scheffler has another tough day fighting the Pinehurst No. 2 greens at the US Open

Jun 15, 2024, 5:47 PM

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the seventh hole during the third round of the U.S...

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the seventh hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — Scottie Scheffler didn’t expect 5-over par through two days at the U.S. Open would be enough to play the weekend.

Yet the world’s top-ranked player was back on Saturday. And the reward? Another chance to tussle with Pinehurst No. 2’s tricky, domed greens, which continued to befuddle him during a 1-over 71 in the third round that left him 6 over for the championship.

“I’m having a lot of trouble reading these greens,” Scheffler admitted. “I had a lot of putts today where I felt like I hit it really good, I looked up and they were not going the way that I thought they were going to go.”

Scheffler, who shot 71 on Thursday and 74 on Friday, finished with two birdies and three bogeys Saturday. Going back to his 2-over 74 in the final round of his win at the Memorial last week, Scheffler has played four consecutive rounds over par for the first time as a pro, according to the PGA Tour.

Scheffler said he’s hit the ball well the last 27 holes but found the sandy native areas “way too much” early on.

“I think you have a pretty good understanding of where you’re trying to hit the ball,” he said. “It’s when you start not hitting the ball in the places where you should hit the ball, that’s when things get tricky.”

There was one particularly frustrating stretch on the back nine Saturday, shortly after his birdie at the 11th. Over the next three holes, Scheffler barely missed good looks at birdies, including one at the 14th that he thought would break left at the hole.

Scheffler again missed a par putt at the 15th, throwing his left hand up in exasperation as the ball again rolled inches left of the cup. He stepped back to take a look, then threw up both hands before finishing the hole.

We have the meats

Neal Shipley had the crowd going at yet another major championship when the Ohio State standout, who outplayed Tiger Woods in the Masters when they were paired for the final round, strung together five birdies over his first 10 holes Saturday.

Shipley played the last six in 4 over, though, underscoring just how quickly things can change at Pinehurst. The slip included a penalty shot when Shipley’s ball moved at address, leaving him 4 over for the championship.

Regardless of how Shipley finishes this week, the U.S. Amateur runner-up will begin playing for money on Monday. Before he arrived in North Carolina, Shipley earned his card at the PGA Tour Americas Q School, where he survived a nine-for-one playoff for the last exemption at Soboba Springs Golf Course in San Jacinto, California.

Shipley, who has a deal with Arby’s and is sporting a head cover shaped like a box of curly fries, is scheduled to make his pro debut in The Beachlands Victoria Open in Canada. He also hopes to get some sponsor exemptions for PGA Tour events.

So much for decorum

There is a certain degree of etiquette expected on the golf course, and among fans at major tournaments. Outside of perhaps the Ryder Cup and President’s Cup, where patriotism rises to the forefront, booing a player is basically verboten.

Those unsaid rules evidently don’t apply to the grounds crew.

Kate Phillips experienced that at Pinehurst No. 2. The turf intern was called upon to douse one of the greens with a hose in the hopes of keeping it from getting concrete-hard and lightning-quick amid the fast-rising temperatures. But when she walked onto the green, she was promptly booed by the fans, who wanted to see some carnage among the world’s best players.

“Might be the coolest thing to ever happen to me,” Phillips said.

Mad Max

Max Homa wasn’t rooting against anyone in particular on Saturday. He was rooting against everyone equally.

Homa, who tied for third at the Masters, has a good-natured and engaging personality on social media. He also missed the cut on Friday. So quite naturally, he took to X — the platform formerly known as Twitter — and sent out a zinger on Saturday.

Along with a GIF of Will Ferrell exclaiming, “What an idiot,” he wrote: “The moment I wake up on a Saturday after missing the cut I root for the course to become impossible so I can laugh at all the stupid players who whooped my (behind). I shot 6 over and will shamelessly be this GIF all weekend.”

___

AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta contributed to this report.

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Scheffler has another tough day fighting the Pinehurst No. 2 greens at the US Open