Daily Digest: Oosthuizen Takes Route 65

Louis Oosthuizen matched the championship's low round with a 65.
Louis Oosthuizen matched the championship's low round with a 65.  (USGA/Joel Kowsky)

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Louis Oosthuizen would probably like to toss out his first-round scores in his last two U.S. Open starts. After an opening-round 77 at Chambers Bay in 2015, the 33-year-old from South Africa played his last 54 holes in a U.S. Open record 199 strokes, including a second-nine 29 in the final round.

The 2010 Open champion at St. Andrews is at it again in 2016. Oosthuizen carded a 5-over-par 75 on Friday morning, then completed a second-round 5-under 65 on Saturday morning to get himself back into contention. Oosthuizen’s second round included four consecutive birdies from No. 3 (he started on No. 10) and eight overall. He concluded the round by holing a 27-foot birdie at the par-4 ninth.

The 65 matched the lowest round of the championship. Daniel Summerhays, who got into the field on Monday as an alternate, carded a 65 on Friday afternoon.

Four of Oosthuizen’s last five U.S. Open rounds have now been 67 or lower, making him someone to watch over the final 36 holes. Here is something else to contemplate: his fourth-round scoring average in the U.S. Open is 67.0 (three rounds).

“What I learned from last year was to never really give up in a U.S. Open,” said Oosthuizen. “Just grind on. If something happens, then you can get yourself right back into it. I was just grinding the whole day.”

NCAA Champion Exits Early … Again

For the fourth consecutive year, the reigning NCAA Division I individual champion qualified for the U.S. Open. And for the fourth consecutive year, that player failed to qualify for the final 36 holes. This year it was Aaron Wise, who turned professional last week following his sophomore season at Oregon, where he not only took the individual crown at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club but also led the Ducks to their first team championship.

In his professional debut, Wise posted rounds of 74-76 for a 10-over total of 150.

This streak began with Max Homa of the University of California-Berkeley in 2013 at Merion Golf Club, followed by Cameron Wilson of Stanford University in 2014 at Pinehurst and Bryson DeChambeau of Southern Methodist University at Chambers Bay. DeChambeau, who would win the U.S. Amateur two months later, was a sectional qualifier for this year’s U.S. Open and shot 1-over-par 71 in the opening round. He started his second round Saturday at 8:50 a.m. EDT.

Quiet Time with Phil

 Local favorite Mike Van Sickle, who grew up in Wexford, Pa., north of Pittsburgh, struggled in his first U.S. Open, shooting 76-80-156, but he enjoyed one of those special moments that a young player never forgets before he played his second round Saturday morning at Oakmont.

"The coolest thing happened this morning," Van Sickle said, smiling through his disappointment. "Hitting balls on the range, and some guy puts his Callaway balls way too close to me. I'm like, 'What's going on? I'm going to have to move down.' Then Phil walks up, and I'm like, oh, it's Lefty. That makes sense. Phil is hitting balls next to me, and I turn around, and [Jim] Furyk is hitting balls behind me. And I go to walk off the range, and Phil says, 'Hey, hey, Mike,' and he kind of whispers, and I walk back over, and he shakes my hand.
"He said, 'Hey, I've been following your golf career since you were in college. I just want to tell you – wish you the best of luck out there today.' That was by far the coolest moment of the week."

Closing the Book on Round 2

Round 2 officially concluded at 2:27 p.m. on Saturday. Some statistics and notes from the conclusion of the round:

Dustin Johnson hit 25 consecutive greens in regulation over the first and second rounds, the most in a U.S. Open since 1997. He also started the championship with 27 consecutive bogey-free holes, the most to start a U.S. Open since Rory McIlroy played the first 35 holes without a bogey in 2011.

Johnson (67-69) is one of only two players to open with two rounds in the 60s in a U.S. Open at Oakmont. The other is Hale Irwin (69-69) in 1994, who went on to finish in a tie for 18th.

Daniel Summerhays’ score of 5-under 30 on the inward nine in the second round is the lowest inward-nine score in a U.S. Open at Oakmont and ties Ernie Els (front nine, third round, 1994) for lowest nine-hole score in a U.S. Open at Oakmont.

Jim Furyk is the only player in the field to have made the cut in three U.S. Opens at Oakmont (1994, 2007, 2016). Jack Nicklaus is the only player to make the cut in four U.S. Opens at Oakmont (1962, 1973, 1983, 1994).

Jon Rahm, of Spain, is the first amateur to make the cut at a U.S. Open at Oakmont since 1983.

Sixty-seven players made the cut of 6-over 146 or better. That is the lowest cut score in nine U.S. Opens at Oakmont. The previous low score was 147 in 1994, though the course played to a par of 71 that year.

USGA's Ron Driscoll and Ohio-based freelance writer Dave Shedloski contributed.