McIlroy, Mickelson Among Those to Miss Cut

Jordan Spieth was one of five U.S. Open champions to survive the 36-hole cut. (USGA/Darren Carroll)
Jordan Spieth was one of five U.S. Open champions to survive the 36-hole cut. (USGA/Darren Carroll)


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OAKMONT, Pa. – Cut day in the 116th U.S. Open Championship came later than normal at Oakmont Country Club due to Thursday’s three weather-related suspensions of play, but there was no shortage of drama surrounding those fighting to play the final 36 holes.

Sixty-six professionals and one amateur made the cut (low 60 and ties) of 6-over-par 146. But several marquee names won’t be sticking around for the weekend, including seven U.S. Open champions and three other major champions. World No. 3 and 2011 champion Rory McIlroy and five-time major champion Phil Mickelson, needing a U.S. Open title to complete the career grand slam, are also going home earlier than they expected.

McIlroy looked like he was going to make a run after posting 4-under 31 on his first nine, but he faltered coming home, a second nine that featured a four-putt on the par-4 third hole and another double bogey on the par-4 ninth.

Mickelson, who finished his second round on Saturday morning, came up a stroke short at 147 (74-73). It was his first missed cut since the last time the U.S. Open visited Oakmont nine years ago.

“I actually thought I played really well, except I let four or five par putts kind of slide, and all of a sudden I'd be 2 over and right in it,” said Mickelson, a six-time U.S. Open runner-up. “You can’t do that here because you don’t have those birdie opportunities to offset those mistakes.”

Past U.S. Open champions Geoff Ogilvy (147), Justin Rose (148), Lucas Glover (149), Ernie Els (150), Retief Goosen (150) and Webb Simpson (151) also missed the cut, along with PGA Championship winners Keegan Bradley (149) and David Toms (149).

Other notables to miss were Rickie Fowler (151), former world No. 1 Luke Donald (148), Patrick Reed (148) and Brandt Snedeker (151).

Eleven amateurs started the championship, but only Jon Rahm, of Spain, the 2015 McCormack Medal winner for being No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR), will play the last 36 holes. The recent Arizona State University graduate rallied for a 1-under-par 69 on Saturday after opening with a 76. He will earn low-amateur honors provided he finishes 72 holes.

“I can say it's a huge, huge accomplishment,” said Rahm. “I’m extremely honored to have done it, and it's kind of humbling to see how many great amateurs are playing here, almost [team NCAA] national champion from Texas, Scottie Scheffler, played a great round [on Thursday]; Charlie Danielson; Nick Hardy; U.S. Amateur finalist Derek Bard. Just a lot of high quality golf, and to be the only one makes me realize how good of a day I had today. I'm extremely proud of it.”

Scheffler, a University of Texas junior from Dallas, who shot 69 in Thursday’s first round, had a disappointing second-round 78 to miss by one.

“The course seemed to play about the same, but my game didn't feel very good,” said Scheffler, the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur champion. “I wanted to hit the ball on the fairway. You can't really play from the rough out here.”

Those barely on the good side of the number included Angel Cabrera (146), the 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont, 2008 U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee and three-time USGA champion Ryan Moore (146).

Defending champion Jordan Spieth posted a pair of 72s and will enter the last two rounds eight behind midway leader Dustin Johnson, whom Spieth edged by a stroke last year at Chambers Bay. Reigning Masters champion Danny Willett also made the cut.

Five of the 27 players who went through local and sectional qualifying made the cut, including first-round leader Andrew Landry. Landry, 28, of Austin, Texas, will be in the third round’s final grouping after posting a 36-hole total of 3-under 137. Others qualifying for the final 36 holes were Ethan Tracy, Chase Parker, Matt Marshall and Brandon Harkins. By doing so, they’ll bypass local qualifying in 2017.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.