LA JOLLA, Calif.--Kevin Streelman slept on the first-round lead of the U.S. Open--but not for long. "I slept from about 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. and was up pretty much the rest of the night after that," Streelman said. "I think exhaustion put me to sleep but then I realized what a fun day it was and the position I was in."
The 29-year-old Streelman, co-leader with Justin Hicks after their 68s, was out on the South Course at Torrey Pines in a 7:11 a.m. pairing Friday. It didn't take long for the amiable Duke graduate to hit a speedbump. He made a triple-bogey 6 on the par-3 third hole after his 7-iron tee shot plugged in a front bunker and he then hit his ball over the green.
"It was an unfortunate lie," said Streelman. "I could have stepped on it and it wouldn't have been that bad. That's a situation you face in the U.S. Open [where] you need to take your medicine and just do the best with what you're given. I definitely threw away a shot or two to the field."
Streelman also had double-bogeys on Nos. 6 (where he also had sand troubles) and 15, shooting 77 to finish 36 holes at three-over 145. "There's a good two or three inches of heavy, particular sand on the top, and then the base under that, so you're just not able to generate enough spin on the ball to control it out of the bunkers," he said. "You play for chunk and runs, as opposed to most tour events when you aim for bunkers because it's pretty easy to get out of them a lot of times."
While his second round in the his first U.S Open was much different than his first, Streelman didn't have any difficulty keeping developments in perspective. In part, this was because of a meeting he had last week in Memphis with 12-year-old cancer patient Daniel Biljanoski, who gave Streelman the green "Give Thanks" wristband he is wearing.
"He was going in for his last chemo treatment last week," Streelman said. "Seven months ago he was told he had only two months to live. He's a fighter. We're worrying about our golf swings, and that kid's fighting for his life. There are more important things than golf. I'm just trying to enjoy this."
Through two rounds, Streelman was accomplishing his goals. "If anybody would have said three-over at a U.S. Open through two rounds, I would have taken it," he said. "I'm a little disappointed how I played today, but hopefully it's my bad round and I'll make a move tomorrow."
-- Bill Fields