Derek Bard knew every aspect of his game was going to have to be sharp if he hoped to have success during the 2016 U.S. Open at historic Oakmont Country Club.
Bard struggled with his tee shots the majority of his 36 holes in shooting 77-78 during a marathon Friday for the former New Hartford standout. Bard will miss the cut, although it won’t be official until every player has finished their second round. The cut is projected to be around 6-over par. Dustin Johnson leads at 4-under and is tied with Andrew Landry, who hasn’t begun his second round. Half of the 156-player field will play their entire second round Saturday morning.
For Bard, his debut at the U.S. Open was a physical and mental test, but he wasn’t offering it as an excuse.
“It was hard,” Bard said of playing 36 grueling holes on the what is widely regarded as the toughest course in the world. “But everyone was affected by the weather somehow. (I) can’t control it. I’m not using it as an excuse, I played poorly and it showed.”
Bard’s score was a bit deceiving as he had long stretches of solid play. He was 1-under after his first seven holes of his second round, before a brutal five-hole stretch ended his hopes of making the cut. After draining his third birdie of the second round on the difficult par-4 7th, Bard made two bogeys and three doubles from Nos. 8-12 to go from 6-over — which was right around the projected cut line — to 14-over par.
The University of Virginia star managed five birdies in his second round, but his hopes of playing the weekend, once again came undone on the par-3 8th and par-4 9th, as he duplicated his first-round scores by bogeying the eighth then making a double bogey on the ninth.
“Yeah, definitely,” Bard said of the impact of his second double bogey on No. 9. “After that double I knew I had to do something special on the back. (Then I) bogeyed 10 and put it in the hazard on 11. From there I was done.”
Another errant tee shot led to a bogey on the par-4 1st hole to move Bard back to 4-over for the tournament. The University of Virginia standout responded with six straight pars and was 4-over entering his final two holes and just one shot off the current cut line, before faltering for the first time on Nos. 8 and 9.
Bard finished his tournament by hitting just 12 of 28 fairways and 15 of 36 greens, both way below the field average. He had 59 putts (29 in first round and 30 in second) which was better than the field average, but missing so many greens usually results in fewer putts. His driving distance also was slightly better than the field average.
“I drove it terribly,” Bard said. “(It’s) something I’ve strruggled with for the whole year now. On most courses we play you can get away with it. Obviously not here.”
Despite missing the cut in his Masters and U.S. Open debuts, Bard can take solace in that the majority of his peers have only watched those events on television. Bard also showed flashes he can play with the game’s best, and that only fuels his drive for getting back to become a fixture at major tournaments.
“This week was a lot of fun, having my family and friends down here,” Bard said. “I have a lot of work to do to play at this level and on these courses … but I have time.”
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