Glover, Barnes top unlikely leaderboard
By BILL HUFFMAN
When Lucas Glover captured the 2003 Gila River Classic in Phoenix, he just “looked’’ like a player. Big, strong and gifted with a silky-smooth golf swing, the Clemson All-American also captured the 2005 Funai-Walt Disney Classic and then seemed content to finish in the top-10.
Does Glover have enough game to hold up at the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black? Probably not, although he is at 6-under-par and a shot ahead of another former collegian that big things were predicted – former University of Arizona All-American Ricky Barnes of Scottsdale.
Glover and Barnes, a star-crossed type, are the unlikely pace-setters at the mid-point of the second round – whatever that is — of this rain-plagued U.S. Open. How long it will take to finish Round 2 remains to be seen, as yet more rain is forecast Saturday in Farmingdale, N.Y., the Long Island suburb that is hosting what has the potential to become WaterWorld II.
For most of Friday, Mike Weir stole the show with an opening 6-under-par 64 that came within a shot of equaling the best 18 holes in a major championship. Never has there been a better score recorded in golf by hitting mostly fairway woods and hybrids into par 4s. And for the record, never has a left-hander won the U.S. Open.
David Duval shot 67 (another shocker) and was holding steady after a shaky start to his second round. Duval actually showed shades of his past, when he shot 59 and was No. 1 in the world.
Phil Mickelson was 1-under when the day ended was pretty true to form. But Tiger Woods being 10 shots back after his round fell apart for a 74, well, that was a head-scratcher. That TW was even par through his first 14 holes was hard to believe that he ended up deep in the pack.
“I hit some good shots. It wasn’t like I was hitting it all over the place,’’ said a defensive defending champ, who was the only player under par (3 under) when he captured the first U.S. Open held at Bethpage Black in 2002.At this point of the U.S. Open, I like Mickelson’s chances. It was 10 years ago on the 18th green at Pinehurst that the late Payne Stewart said to Lefty: “Your time will come.’’
Unfortunately for Woods and the rest of the first wave, they got the short end of the weather. The difference in the average score from the early wave that got rained on to the later group that got great weather was almost two strokes.
Considering all that Mickelson has been through lately, you’ve got to like his Karma. Plus, he’s always at his best when Woods is, mostly, out of it — and he could be!