No easy road to top at Oakmont | india | Hindustan Times
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No easy road to top at Oakmont

india Updated: Jun 16, 2007 23:12 IST

For the second day running, we saw just two players turn in below par cards in the US Open. Paul Casey shot an incredible four-under 66 and Stephen Ames signed a one-under 69 on Friday.

But the man with the most consistent golf over the first two rounds was Argentina's Angel Cabrera who put himself in the unfamiliar position of sitting on top of the leaderboard after two rounds in a Major.

On a course where there are no easy birdies to be had, it is not enough if only one aspect of your game is in fine fettle. The course demands all-round play.

There is, of course, no leeway for poor shots as men like overnight leader Nick Dougherty, Vijay Singh (148) Ernie Els and Fred Funk (149 each) found out. It's about respecting the course and identifying challenges.

Our own Jeev Milka Singh improved his putting marginal for another round of 5-over 75 to keep his record of making the cut in each of his four Major appearances.

He would be disappointed with successive double bogeys on the par-3 sixth and par-5 seventh as well as a bogey on the par-4 ninth. He may be a bit concerned by the fact that he has dropped eight strokes over two days on the five-hole stretch beginning the fifth.

Of course, he wasn't only the one hassled on that stretch. World No. 3 Phil Mickelson went six-over in four holes from the sixth on Friday and was left hoping against hope that he would survive to play over the weekend. He was bunched with World Nos. 2 and 4, Jim Furyk and Adam Scott.

You would have expected them to tame the course. Furyk is in with six over 146 while Mickelson — nursing a painful wrist — and Scott missed the cut.

Contrast Mickelson's state with that of Tiger Woods’. He demonstrated the art of hanging in there, staying within sight of the leader.

He had six bogeys on a day that was going to be more difficult than the previous one. He gave us the impression that he was aware the course was on the verge of becoming unplayable and that he had to grind away with his patience. I would be looking out for him to make a run for his third US Open crown.