Date: June 19, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes, Oakmont

Day survives; Scott well placed

Jason Day can breathe easy; Adam Scott can think big.

The top-ranked Aussie pair came out for a three-hole sprint to finish their US Open second rounds this morning at Oakmont with different pressures.

But both passed the test with flying colours.

Day, the world No.1, desperately needed three pars to finish his round at a five-over-par total to ensure he would make the cut – and he duly delivered to complete a fine second-round 69.

Scott was even more impressive, narrowly missing two birdie tries on the seventh and eighth holes, but happy nonetheless with his 69 that left him square overall.

That total means even more to the former Masters champ, who still thinks even par will win come Sunday night.

“We will see fast greens this afternoon (when the third round begins after lunch), but we’re going to see some crazy ones tomorrow,” Scott predicted.

“I’m sure they’re going to put it right to the limit tomorrow, because they just haven’t been exactly where they want them (because of Thursday’s torrential rain that has thrown the tournament schedule into chaos).

“They’ll be a little firmer, but they’re really cutting them a lot at the moment and when they go again tomorrow, I think we’ll say some crazy stuff happen then.”

Scott, a top-10 finisher in each of the past two US Opens, looked back on a spectacular bogey save after a flop shot from deep rough behind the 15th as a critical point in keeping “momentum”.

“That was a huge moment. That’s what you have to do at these big events, especially at US Opens, because you often get in those kind of situations.

“You’ve got to find a way to just drop one (shot) and keep the momentum … because it’s really easy to make bogeys and really hard to make birdies at US Opens and dropping one can keep your round together. (But) dropping two in one hole, you might wait 18 holes to find two more birdies to make that up.”

Scott, who was tied 13th walking off the ninth green as the next wave began their second rounds, said he was happy to be heading towards the “normality” of the final day, despite the likelihood his third round won’t be complete by nightfall.

“When you play all right on those long days, it’s quite good to keep playing and I was happy with that yesterday,” he said.

“And you have to be pretty pleased to have three pars on those holes to finish the course (this morning). It would have been nice to sneak a birdie, but that doesn’t always happen at US Opens.

But I’m in good shape – as long as someone like (Lee) Westwood (still to start his second round at the time) doesn’t do anything crazy.

“But even if he does, it’s just going to play harder and harder over the weekend, so if I can just hold my spot here (at even par) for another day, then I think I’ll be in with a shot tomorrow.”

Fellow Queenslander Day also had his mind on even par, relieved to get a shot at redemption after his opening 76.

He, too, impressed with three quality pars this morning, leaving him within range of a title that even he must have feared had slipped through his fingers after his icy putting in the first round.

“The second round was nice. The first round, obviously, was terrible,” he said.

“I gave myself plenty of opportunities in the first round to give myself or try and capitalise on the opportunities off the tee shots. I felt like I drove it pretty good in the first round and then missed too many greens, especially with short clubs, and a couple of three-putts in there as well.

“So it was good to come back out this morning and par the last few holes, which are very difficult to do because seven, eight and nine are not easy.

“The greens are only going to get firmer and faster, and same with the fairways. I'm hoping that it gets really hot today and starts baking everything out and then hopefully plays hard for everyone, and hopefully I can claw my way back into this tournament.

“I'm trying to claw my way back to even par. I think, if I can get back to even par, that I may have a good chance at giving myself a shot at winning. But obviously, there's plenty of golf to be played.

“But 36 more holes. There's so much golf to be played, and I've got to be patient.”