SAN DIEGO – The U.S. Open is billed as the toughest tournament in golf, exacting pain and potential humiliation to anyone in the field. In many cases, just saying the course names out loud elicits a cringe from players, like saying “Voldemort” in Harry Potter’s wizarding world.
“Oakmont, Winged Foot, Oakland Hills.” Shhhh!
Torrey Pines South Course does not instill the same fear, but its length, thick rough and tricky poa annua greens command the respect of every player in the field here at the 121st U.S. Open. After a 90-minute delay due to fog and a marine layer that drifted over the course overnight, there was a healthy mix of both opportunities and ways to card big numbers.
Playing in the afternoon group (which turned into the night shift), Louis Oosthuizen did what he often does in big events: arrive under the radar and work up the leaderboard. He birdied 16, 17 and 18 to close his first nine holes at 3 under par. Then, as the marine layer returned to cover the blue sky, and temperatures dropped, he drained an 11-foot birdie putt on the fifth hole to reach 4 under. After making pars on the following two holes, darkness suspended play. He will return Friday…