SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Of the many things the USGA got wrong on Saturday – the moisture level in the greens, the dicey hole locations on the back nine – the biggest might have been the disparity between the morning and afternoon waves at Shinnecock Hills.
After tying his career-worst round Saturday at the U.S. Open, Rickie Fowler was among the many players who questioned how the difference could have been so significant.
“I’m not necessarily criticizing the setup and how it played this afternoon, but when it’s that big of an advantage to playing in the morning versus the afternoon, I think it takes away from the work that the guys have done the first two days,” he said. “I’m not just talking about myself, but also the guys that are playing behind me. It’s just tough out there.”
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Daniel Berger and Tony Finau stormed up the leaderboard with third-round 66s that matched the low round of the week. They also completed those rounds just as the final group was teeing off.
Overall, the first 11 groups had a scoring average of 73.6. The last 11? An average of 77 – and that includes Fowler’s 84, tying his highest round as a professional.
“It almost seems like some of the guys probably wish that they would have made the cut around 5 or 6 over in a way,” Fowler said. “When are you taking away from what you did the first two days, that’s a little unfortunate.”