Date: June 18, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes, Oakmont

Smith raring to go if cut gods smile

Cameron Smith will sleep proudly tonight – but it might be a little restless.

The Queensland tyro is sitting near the cut bubble after completing his second round at six over, but must endure the agonising wait to see if that’s the score that will give him a pass to the end of the US Open.

Currently tied 72nd, Smith must hope he makes the top 60 and ties when the marathon second round ends sometime around lunch tomorrow.

The 22-year-old pressed hard for a late birdie today, but couldn’t manage more than one in his second round as the rugged Oakmont layout began to toughen up again after Thursday’s downpours that threw the tournament into chaos.

“It’s just a waiting game now,” said Smith, who clearly hasn’t given up higher ambitions.

“I knew I’d be thereabouts (and) I’m playing great – I just need a couple of breaks and I’ll be right up there.

“I’ve got to move in 12 places, but half the field hasn’t teed off yet and there are still guys out there and the course being the way it is, I can’t really see the (cut score going down), that’s for sure.”

Smith, who tied fourth in his US Open debut last year, opened the day dramatically with two birdies and a double bogey in the first four holes of his first round.

But he knuckled down as Oakmont dried out and returned a fine 71, including four birdies, before a quick turnaround and second 18 holes.

The greens were rolled and cut during the brief intermission and played up to three feet faster in the afternoon, making birdies far harder to attain.

“It was tough out there this afternoon. Earlier the wind was up and then we had perfect conditions the last 10 holes. It’s just a tough track.

“They cut the greens between rounds and I lost the speed of my putts from this morning and I made only one birdie that last 18. I felt like I hit a lot of good putts but none of them were going in because of the pace.”

Smith said his two-month battle with a severe stomach bug had no effect on his play and that he’d returned to full fitness.

So much so that he’s just raring for another chance tomorrow should the cards fall his way.

“The lead is four under, so I’m only 10 shots back and that’s nothing in a US Open,” he beamed.

“If you get on a bit of a roll, a few of the guys come back to you and all of a sudden you’re 10th. I’ll just see what happens.

“I had three three-putts this afternoon – it’s hard not to have them around here.

“I feel like I’m hitting the ball great, but it was so hard to get the ball close to the pins – you constantly have 25-40 footers across slopes and you’ve rarely got a straight putt, so they’re tough to hole. And when you’ve got three-foot knee-knockers, you can easily go 20 feet past. But I think I did pretty good.

“Hopefully I just get a game tomorrow, that’s the main thing.”