U.S. OpenJune 19, 2015

Jamie Lovemark sand-saves his way into contention

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. -- After a Friday 68 brought PGA Tour journeyman Jamie Lovemark to two under for the week, one statistic stuck out above all others: Lovemark is an incredible 7-for-7 at getting up and down from the bunkers this week, including a hole out for birdie on No. 7 in the second round Friday. That's no easy task in normal circumstances -- the record for the entire PGA Tour last year was Chris Kirk, who had 14 saves in a row at one point -- but it's even more remarkable when you consider the fast, bumpy quality of the Chambers Bay greens.

Related: The winners and losers from Day 1 at Chambers Bay

You can't underestimate the importance of that stat to Lovemark's current position, T-10. First off, there are less than 10 players in the field who have even been in the sand as much as he has. The only players with similar perfect marks greater than 1-for-1 are Kevin Kisner, Cole Hammer and Ian Poulter, all of whom are 3-for-3. If Lovemark had been merely average, he'd be in danger of missing the cut. Instead, he'll head into the weekend with a real chance to put up a low score and contend for his first professional title outside the Web.com Tour.

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"At a U.S. Open you're going to have tons of par saves, you're going to hit them in weird spots," Lovemark said after his round. "Especially in a links course, it's just going to roll into the bunker, you've got to be well prepped going into the week."

Lovemark said he's not doing anything new from the sand in order to adjust to Chambers Bay, but clearly the Web.com's 107th ranked sand saver -- at 37.93 percent — has figured something out. Whether it means he's been getting lucky and is due for a correction, or shows he can scramble in what will undoubtedly be brutal weekend conditions, remains to be seen.

It doesn't get much better than this. Jamie Lovemark from the bunker on No. 7 to move up the > #USOpen leader board. > http://t.co/vaRxcUiFvQ — USGA (@USGA) > June 19, 2015

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