Paul Casey admitted it was rare to “enjoy” a round with a triple-bogey eight on his card after he staged a remarkable fightback in the second round of the US Open.
Casey started the day one shot off the lead after his confident opening 66 at Erin Hills, and he looked in fine form again early on Friday when he knocked his approach to the 11th – his second – to within three feet for an easy birdie.
But he gave the shot back at the next and then endured a horror-show at the long 14th, where he hacked his way to an eight after taking four attempts in the infamous fescue, including a fourth shot in which he advanced his ball barely two feet.
The Englishman’s slide continued with another dropped shot at 15, but a sublime approach to 17 ignited his run of birdies around the turn as he repaired all the damage in consecutive holes.
Casey parred in to stay at seven under, and he said: “It feels good, it’s not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an eight on the card, but I’m a pretty happy man. It was a bit of a roller coaster, but I guess you can’t get through a US Open or any major without some kind of hiccup.
“It was all my own fault, but it was a good display of what can happen if you get out of position on this golf course, which is what I did on 14. So even just trying to take my medicine is very, very difficult. It’s a good eight there in the end.
“I had been swinging it well, and it felt really, really good a couple of holes later to be picking the ball out of the hole for a birdie. Then I clawed all the way back and actually picked up one more to the good by the time we were finished. It felt great, and clearly the game plan is pretty good.”
Casey insisted he was “excited” over the prospect of being in contention for his maiden major over the weekend, and he added: “I want to be near the top. I will be going in there tomorrow and Sunday near the top. It doesn’t affect the game plan one bit, and it doesn’t really affect the mindset.
“There will probably be more nerves, more excitement, there is a lot of golf to be played here. I’ve shown what can happen with one bad swing, so you’ve got to be very, very patient and stay in the moment. I know it’s a cliché, but the last thing you need to be doing is thinking ahead, especially on this golf course.”