Ames bears Tiger crowd
Stephen Ames watches his shot during the first round of the U.S. Open on the Lake Course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif., June 14, 2012. (STUART FRANKLIN/Getty Images/AFP)
Stephen Ames made the cut at the U.S. Open, which is quite the feat considering he had failed to qualify for weekend play in seven of his last nine events.
"I'll look at it that way - not that I enjoyed how I hit the ball today," the Calgary resident said. "I didn't have any expectations coming in here at all. I was patient, and that's all you have to be out here."
Ames birdied the 18th hole on Friday night to card a 3-over-par 73, giving him a 7-over total of 147. He was happy with the result considering he was playing behind Tiger Woods for the first two days.
The crowds that accompanied Woods' group made it frustrating for Ames and his threesome.
"I've been forgiving the (United States Golf Association) all day," Ames said. "Playing behind Tiger, it's really tough. We stood up on the sixth hole, and we watched about 80 people trample up, all the way around the back edge of the green going to the next tee. Please. There are other people playing this event. And it is, in some respects, the USGA's fault for allowing so many people to be following him.
"It's a bunch of amateurs running a professional event. That's what we've said for years. It's always difficult that way."
There are 22 golfers who are probably wishing the USGA didn't change its rules regarding the 36-hole cut this year.
In the past, either the low 60 and ties qualify for the weekend, or everyone who is within 10 strokes of the lead. This year, the USGA did away with the 10-stroke rule, and it would have applied this time.
Since 1-under is leading the tournament, those with 9-over totals would have made the cut and 94 players would have had the chance to chase a fatter cheque.
Instead, 72 players made the cut at 8-over.
Graeme McDowell believes even par could very well be the winning number Sunday night. Then again, he noted the golf course has no control over that.
"It's up to the USGA, really," McDowell said. "They can have whatever they want with it. If they want 5 over to win it, 10 over to win it, they can hide these pins away and test us.
"It's pretty tough to call, but I would have to imagine around level par."
AND WE QUOTE
"These Californians are smart. They know if they walk all way to the bottom they got to walk to the top again. My group's been laughing about that for two days. They seem to be hovering up there." - Jim Furyk, noting how many spectators watch the holes at the top of the course's hill.
Furyk was asked what it would mean to win the U.S. Open in his mid-40s. "My early 40s, dammit! I'm 42." . Amateur Hunter Hamrick had the round of the day with a 3-under-par 67 . Sergio Garcia showed off his temper on the third tee Friday, smashing a ground microphone to smithereens after a poor shot. Despite his anger, he made the cut with ease at 4-over (73-71) . Germany's Alex Cejka had the best comeback of the week, bouncing back from an opening 78 with a 69 to make the cut at 147 . Andy Zhang, the 14-year-old amateur from China by way of Florida, shot 77 Friday to end up at 16-over. He is believed to be the youngest competitor in U.S. Open history . Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was at The Olympic Club Friday following the action. He played his college ball at the University of California in nearby Berkeley.