RBC Canadian Open

Oakdale Golf & Country Club

The Loop

U.S. Open—Amateur redux

MAMARONECK, N.Y.—They were all trying to put on a happy face Friday afternoon, the nine amateurs in the field at the U.S. Open, none of whom as it turns out played well enough to advance to the weekend.

“It’s a great experience playing with Tiger [Woods] and in front of so many people,” said U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari, who shot a 77-76. “It’s a heavy pressure situation. So I think, from now on it will be easier to play golf. After playing this one and the Masters with Tiger, any kind of pressure won’t be as high as this.”

Amateur results (Cut at nine over)

Alex Coe                         77-73—150  +10    T-64

Billy Horschel                  75-77—152 +12     T-82

Edoarado Molinari            77-76—153  +13    T-98

Jonathan Moore                77-78—155  +15    T-121

Patrick Nagle                   81-85—156  +16   T-128

Tadd Fukijawa                81-77—158  +18    T-140

Dillon Dougherty              85-75—160  +20    T-147

Ryan Baca                       78-83—161 +21    T-149

Ryan Posey                      84-78—162 +22     T-152

“I just couldn’t get any putts to fall,” said Florida All-American Billy Horschel, who shot a 75-77. “But I drove the ball pretty well. I think what I learned is that when I’m on, though, my game is just as good as anybody out here.”

Perhaps it was Alex Coe, a recent graduate of Pepperdine, who put it best when asked about coming closer to making the cut than any of the amateurs, missing by one shot at 10-over par 150.

“The word is bummed out.”

Here’s another way to describe it: surprising. Given the strong play of late from many of the nine were on before coming to Winged Foot’s West Course, I really felt as if at least two or three of the amateurs would find themselves playing on the weekend.

There is, of course, an easy explanation. It’s safe to say none of the players had faced a course set up quiet as brutal as this A.W. Tillinghast masterpiece. Jonathan Moore, the recently crowned NCAA champion from Oklahoma State, played here in 2004 at the U.S. Amateur and noted that the course was much more treacherous this time around.

Remember too, it’s not like some top caliber pros were tearing things up. Joining the nine packing their bags were none other than Tiger Woods, defending U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, Davis Love III and Sergio Garcia.

Bottom line: Winged Foot might be the toughest test of an U.S. Open course. If you’re not on your game, then you’re likely to be embarrassed, even if there isn't all that much embarrassment about missing the cut at the U.S. Open.

It’s a fact nine amateurs most certainly learned this past week.