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The Loop

Early risers rejoice as marathon Saturday session begins at Oakmont

June 18, 2016

OAKMONT, Pa. – In the old days, some of the dew-sweepers might have been singing the Willie Nelson tune “Bloody Mary Morning.” But this is now, and the clear-eyed crew on the range at 6 a.m. Saturday was diligently getting ready for Day 3 of the U.S. Open, which was still somehow still Day 2.    There remain 27 players who needed to finish the second round they started Friday, and they got back at it at 7:15. a.m. Then there was the entire second half of the second-round pairings who didn’t play at all on Friday. They teed off at 7.   Here are some numbers to speculate on today: The last group of the second wave in Round 2 tees off at 9:12 a.m. Assuming a five-hour round, that’s a 2:12 p.m. finish, which means Round 3 will start about 3 p.m. (at the earliest). Time par this week is 4 hours 42 minutes and play has been about 20 minutes behind that, so five hours is reasonable guess, plus time needed to make the cut and set the pairings for the next round.   The USGA will play Round 3 off both No. 1 and No. 10 tee in threesomes. Assume the minimum makes the cut of low 60 and ties, the last threesome would tee off at roughly 4:39 p.m. That means Round 3 will not finish on Saturday and that the leaders will likely being playing about 24 holes on Sunday—almost like the pre-1965 days when the U.S. Open concluded with a 36-hole marathon.   Speaking of that cut number, it was sitting on five over when play resumed Saturday with the likelihood it would go to six over.  The silent hope of everyone is that a low number—60 would be nice—makes the cut.   In any case, the weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday is perfect—near 90 degrees and no rain. Well, that’s perfect for fans. The players may find it a bit of a grind in this humid river valley with all those holes to play.   Still, there is no reason we can’t end this thing on Sunday. And then we will all be ready for a Bloody Mary Evening.