By Brandon Raper @Brandon__Raper on June 14, 2014
Tournament leader Martin Kaymer is making things look easy at the 2014 U.S. Open. Ridiculously so, to be honest. Still, that doesn’t mean that the course isn’t able to take its pound of flesh from players who dared to make tactical errors during the first two days of play.
Read on to see whose early departures from Pinehurst shocked us, and let us know what your biggest surprise cuts were in the comments section below.
Delaet shot 75-75 for a 10-over-par 150 before departing. This was just the young Canadian star’s first U.S. Open and fourth major appearance, so it’s not really a surprise that he struggled, but his obvious talent made him a dark horse pick for many. Things are still looking up for DeLaet, but missing a cut at this event is always a tough pill to swallow.
The last time Lee Westwood played in a U.S. Open and didn’t play the weekend? 2001 at Southern Hills. Nine other times he’d finished no worse than 36th, but the former No. 1 player’s search for a first major will have to wait for another day. Despite top-ten appearances at the Masters and The PLAYERS Championship, this is his third missed cut in his last five PGA Tour starts. How will he come back from this most recent setback?
Dufner had placed in the top five in his last two U.S. Open starts, but couldn’t stop giving back strokes this week. He did make five birdies, but 11 bogeys in two rounds weren’t going to do much to help. He was -2 and tied for the lead after nine holes on Thursday, but trouble piled up pretty quickly after that, as he even watched one bunker shot roll back to his feet on Friday. Still, Dufner’s a resilient guy, and he’ll bounce back from this.
Masters champion, playing some of the best golf of his career, many thought of him as a potential winner at Pinehurst. Sadly, the damage was done on Thursday, as Watson struggled to a six-over par 76. He bounced back remarkably to shoot level-par 70 on Friday, but it was just a stroke shy. He didn't have a great U.S. Open history to begin with, but this will only set doubters on the case once again.
What makes Hunter Mahan our biggest surprise cut isn't so much that he missed out, but how it happened. Mahan ended up missing the cut by just one shot, you may never see this again. On the 18th hole – their ninth of the day – Mahan and partner Jamie Donaldson hit each other’s balls, each incurring a two-stroke penalty. Mahan had been solidly on the comeback trail, but he’ll always look back at this gaffe as one that cost him dearly at Pinehurst.
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