U.S. Open: Surprise leaders return to earth in second round
By Arnie Stapleton
SAN DIEGO ó Justin Hicks scurried around Torrey Pines Golf Course on Friday, his 15 minutes of fame slipping away as he tried so desperately to stay off the clock.
The surprising co-first round leader at the U.S. Open melted down with a second-round 9-over-par 80 after being told on the first green that his group was running five minutes late and had better pick up the pace.
He barely made the cut, but his hopes of contending on the weekend were gone.
“You know, having the lead at the U.S. Open is not something I’m used to dealing with on a daily basis and you accompany that with, ‘Oh yeah, you’re behind. You need to pick it up,’ kind of got me going on a different gear that I wasn’t really ready to play in,” said the 33-year-old mini-tour veteran.
Before he could catch his breath, Hicks was in the throes of a miserable round that included an astonishing eight bogeys and one double-bogey.
Kevin Streelman, another little-known golfer who shared the 18-hole, one-stroke lead with Hicks, shot a 6-over 77 in the morning.
Hicks teed off in the afternoon and by the sixth hole he and playing partners Derek Fathauer and Scott Piercy were indeed put on the clock for dawdling.
“Six, seven and eight, we just absolutely are running, trying to do our best out there,” Hicks said. “And it’s tough playing a course like this knowing you’ve got 40 seconds to hit a shot when you get to your ball.
“It’s not like this is your neighborhood golf course out here. The greens are obviously very severe. The rough is very severe. There’s wind. And, meanwhile, you’re trying to run around this place and not get tagged for a penalty.”
Hicks said Thursday he didn’t want to be that guy who has his 15 minutes of fame and then disappears.
Yet, here he was, admittedly bothered on the front nine by the threat of penalty for slow play, and he made the turn in 39, then bogeyed his first three on the back nine to fall to 8-over after 12 holes.
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