Just a week after Cameron Smith missed a putt on the 18th green to shoot 59, Bryson DeChambeau had an even better chance Friday, but his six-footer didn’t drop, as the 2020 US Open champion “settled” for a 60.
DeChambeau birdied his first two holes, made eagle at the fourth, then made three more birdies to shoot 29 on the front side. It was the lowest nine-hole score in his career.
Three more birdies and another eagle had DeChambeau at 12 under thru 16 holes. He needed to birdie one of the last two, but couldn’t get the putts to drop as he fell just short of golf’s magic number.
DeChambeau hadn’t spoken to the media since his controversial comments about the COVID vaccine, but he did an interview on the Golf Channel broadcast following the round.
“I had a couple shots, a couple birdie opportunities at 17 and 18, and it didn't happen,” DeChambeau said. “I’m still proud of the way I handled myself, and it's great to feel some pressure again which is awesome.”
DeChambeau currently holds a one-shot lead, but Patrick Cantlay also put together a great round Friday. Cantlay’s putter has been piping hot for the first 36 holes this week, and helped him make 10 birdies to shoot 63.
He became the first player to gain over five shots on the greens in multiple rounds of the same tournament, and has more than doubled the tournament average distance of putts made in just two rounds. Only Hudson Swafford has gained only half as many strokes this week as Cantlay.
“I got the putter going on the back nine and made a bunch of birdies, and today I hit it better all the way through and putted really well. I thought I played great,” Cantlay said.
Cantlay is one of the few players who knows what it’s like to fall just short of 59. He shot 60 as an amateur at the Travelers Championship and said he’s also shot 60 in practice. Cantlay said that when you’re that dialed in, everything feels easy.
I don't have that feeling like to protect or anything. I feel almost the opposite. I'm playing really well today, everything seems easy, just get me to the next shot,” Cantlay said. “I'm going to figure it out, I'm playing great. I feel like the round can kind of build on itself. If you get a couple good things going, it feels like everything good is going to happen.”
Rory Mcilroy and Jon Rahm both shared the lead at 8-under after round one, but found themselves six and five shots back respectively before the end of their second rounds.