University Place, Wash. — For some players who were at Chambers Bay for the U.S. Amateur five years ago, the one concern was a forward tee would be used on the 18th hole to make a par 4 in the U.S. Open. That's what the USGA did Friday, and the results were predictable.
No one was more bothered by it than Jordan Spieth.
"This is the dumbest hole I've ever played in my life," Spieth said after catching the lip of a fairway bunker.
He went on to make double bogey, and while he said the hole at 514 yards doesn't make much sense, "when I didn't hit the right shots, it's going to make less sense." He was aware the microphone picked up his comment and shrugged it off.
Spieth wasn't alone. Some thought it was bad. Others thought it was cool. Most seemed to think it was a bit awkward.
"You feel like you're trying to hit into the left rough off the tee, which doesn't make it feel like a great golf hole," Justin Rose said. He went down the right side, which Rose thought was a mistake, and was happy to see it stop just short of the bunker.
Brad Fritsch called it a hard hole, but not the best par 4.
"You're trying to carry it 275, but not run it out 320," he said. "With these fairways, it's going to roll a lot. I hit 3-wood to the right, and subsequently, it's a much harder shot in with a 5-iron for me."
Spieth said it was a big advantage for the big hitters who could carry it some 310 yards over the trouble.
"If it's going to be a par 4 and you're going to bring that other bunker into play, I think the tee should have been moved up more," he said. "I just didn't know where I could hit that tee shot. I wasn't going to hit a 3-iron into a par 4. I wasn't going to hit 3-iron off the tee and then hit a 3-wood. So all in all, I thought it was a dumb hole today."
Jamie Lovemark and Tony Finau, both power players, thought it was cool. That's not to say it didn't present problems off the tee. Lovemark said he had 275 yards over the left bunker and 325 yards to the right bunker. He took a little off a driver and tried to go down the right into the fescue.
"If I had to play it all over again, I'd probably hit a hard driver down the left side and hopefully it bounces out of the fescue," Lovemark said.
He shot a 68 and was at 2-under 138. And over the weekend, he most likely will get to play it again. The USGA is alternating the par 4 and par 5 between No. 1 and No. 18. Still to be determined is what par is used for the final hole on Sunday.
Cole Hammer made one birdie in 36 holes and finished 26 shots out of the lead.
And the 15-year-old from Houston had the time of his life at the U.S. Open.
"Oh, man, it was awesome," Hammer said after an 84 at Chambers Bay. "It was a blast. It was the best time of my life."
Hammer was the third-youngest qualifier in U.S. Open history, and the 125-pounder faced long odds. He didn't hit the ball as well as he would have liked, and he didn't think he made many putts — not many players did.
He got a reasonable consolation prize. By playing in the U.S. Open, Hammer is exempt from qualifying for the U.S. Junior and U.S. Amateur later this summer.
"I've got some good strong tournaments lined up for this summer, so I'm excited to get that going," he said. "I'm sure this will give me a good experience going forward."
And he wants to be at Oakmont next year for the U.S. Open.
"I will try. Yes, sir, I definitely will," he said.
Beau Hossler joined some exclusive company at Chambers Bay this week. According to the USGA, the 20-year-old Californian is only the fifth player to qualify for the U.S. Open three times as an amateur.
The others were Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw and Bobby Clampett.
That's all well and good, but Hossler doesn't want to settle for just that.
"Any time you are in company with Jack Nicklaus, I guess you're doing something right," Hossler said. "Obviously, it's nice making it here, but I'm trying to contend. That's the goal. I've proven to myself that I can qualify for the event, but I think it's time I start making a move toward the lead a little bit."
Hossler had a 72 on Friday and made the cut. There is a reason for his high standard. Three years ago, Hossler contended on the weekend at Olympic Club as a 17-year-old until he faded to a 76 in the final round and tied for 29th.
So much for the feel-good story of Ryan Moore coming home and contending for his first major.
He will be a spectator for the weekend.
Moore shot a 74 on Friday and finished his two days at 9 over. The native of Puyallup, Washington, just a few miles from Chambers Bay, made bogey on four of the first five holes to start his second nine.
"I'm disappointed with how I played," Moore said. "I would be lying if I said I felt great coming into this week. I tried getting out there, getting a lot of time on the golf course, getting comfortable with it. This course does not set up all that well for me."