ERIN, WISCONSIN – You know what the figures 747 represent. You’ve seen or heard a plane of that type, possibly flown in one. Likewise 727 and 737. But 385?
Far from being a type of aircraft, the figures 385 were the scores of a competitor for three holes in the US Open. They represent a par, a triple bogey and a bogey over the 13th, 14th and 15th holes at Erin Hills. Quick assumption: that player won’t be at Erin Hills over the weekend, not with up-and-down scores like those. He will fall victim, gloriously or ingloriously, to the halfway cut.
Wrong! Hard as it is to imagine, the 3, 8 and 5 were jotted down on the card of Paul Casey, the English golfer, soon after he had started his second round. He was 6 under after 18 holes, 7 under after 20 and 2 under after 24.
Such scores gave Casey a jolt. Then something almost as improbable as those scores occurred. He set off on a tear, as if nothing had happened, scoring five birdies in a row and thus getting to within one of the record of consecutive birdies at a US Open. By the time Casey had finished Friday he had gone round in 71, and was the clubhouse leader after the morning wave on 7-under par.
No wonder he had a broad smile on his face at the end of this up-and-down round. “It feels good,” he said. “(It’s) not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an 8 on it but I’m a pretty happy man.”
Casey was once part of a promising group of English golfers that included Justin Rose. They grew up near one another in the south of England, competed against one another, represented their country, played Walker Cup and then Ryder Cup and now are ranked among the world’s top 20 players – Casey 14th, Rose 11th.
Rose won the US Open in 2013. Might it be Casey’s turn in 2017?