LA JOLLA, Calif. -- D.J. Trahan doesn't mince words when talking about Torrey Pines GC: "I can't stand the place." The sight lines don't suit his eye and the typically soft greens are too spongy for his liking. Not surprisingly, two of the three times he has played in the annual PGA Tour stop here, the Buick Invitational, he has missed the cut. The other appearance he finished T-42.
So how does the 27-year-old explain the second-round 69 he posted Friday morning to get him into the clubhouse at one-under 141 through 36 holes of the 108th U.S. Open and secure a late tee time Saturday afternoon?
"I've been saying to myself all week, 'This is the last time you're coming to play here, so enjoy it,' " Trahan joked after his second round, one in which his putter and the municipal course's Poa annua putting surfaces put their ugly past behind them as he made three birdies to just one bogey.
Mind you, even the bogey was impressive as Trahan almost missed his ball entirely on his third shot at the 12th hole, hitting under it in the rough short and right of the green. His fourth shot he hit to 12 feet, and he made the putt for bogey to keep from losing his momentum entirely.
Trahan credits his solid start to the fact he consciously has kept from dwelling on his past struggles on this course. "I had to keep positive," said Trahan, in his fourth year on tour and playing in his second U.S. Open (MC in 2006). "I just wanted to take a different mental approach, and that's what I [did]. I knew the course would be playing differently, a little firmer, and that was a style I'm more comfortable with."
After winning his second tour title earlier this year at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, Trahan has made 10 cuts in 14 starts but has had just one top-20 finish, a T-17 at his hometown event, the Verizon Heritage on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Again, Trahan couches that stretch in the most encouraging light.
"There's a difference between playing well and scoring well," Trahan said. "I feel I've been playing solidly all year, I just haven't been scoring."
At least until this week.