Kevin Kisner got a jump on Father’s Day by coaxing his own dad out of the gallery Friday to serve as a last-minute caddie.
The 30-year-old PGA Tour pro was already 8 over and certain to miss the cut in his first national championship when he arrived at Pinehurst’s 16th. Kisner said a double bogey there convinced him to send regular caddie Duane Bock into the crowd and turn the bib over to Steve Kisner.
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”At first I was a little concerned about interfering with the group,” Steve Kisner said, sitting alongside his son after the round. ”One of the guys (in the group) still had a chance to make the cut and I didn’t want to change the flow. But Kevin insisted, and once he insisted I was glad to do it.”
Steve Kisner passed on his love of the game and had caddied for his son a few dozen times before, most recently at a mini-tour event.
The reason for his reluctance initially may have been about more than just disrupting the flow.
”You weren’t drinking a beer or anything out there, were you?” a reporter asked.
”Actually I had a couple out there,” Steve Kisner. ”So I might be a good interview.”
Telling a good story apparently runs in the family. Kevin Kisner and wife Brittany had their first child Monday, leaving Kevin just enough time to drive over from Aiken, South Carolina, and get in a few practice holes. Whatever free time he gained by missing the weekend play at Pinehurst will be devoted to looking after his new daughter – and Steve’s fifth grandchild – Kate.
”Changing diapers before you came here?” someone asked.
”I got one in and that’s it,” Kevin Kisner said. ”But I’m sure I’m going to get a lot more tonight.”
”Are you pretty good?” came another follow-up.
”I’m not real sure,” Kevin Kisner replied, ”but we’ll find out.”
LET’S PUTT TWO: Matt Kuchar rolled in a 2-foot bogey putt on the sixth hole. Then, he set down another ball and holed the putt again.
He was just playing it safe.
Kuchar’s ball moved before he could hit the putt. If he had addressed the ball, it would have been a one-shot penalty and Kuchar would have had to replace it to its original position. He called over a rules official to discuss it, and Kuchar was certain he had not addressed it. Lee Westwood, his playing partner, agreed.
”We called in a walking rules official and he says, `Not really sure,’ and we come to the decision that I said, `Let’s play two balls and we can discuss it afterwards.”’ And in the discussion afterwards, we came to the same conclusion that I had not addressed it and not caused it to move,” Kuchar said.
He made bogey on the next hole and shot 70 to finish nine shots behind.
ONE AMATEUR LEFT: The only amateur to make the cut at the U.S. Open won’t be one for much longer.
Matthew Fitzpatrick, who was 4 over through two rounds, is scheduled to make his pro debut next week at the Irish Open.
”Making the cut was first priority, really,” said Fitzpatrick, the 19-year-old English player who won the U.S. Amateur last year. ”Then just to push on from there is sort of the thing that I always say when I’ve played the professional events … just make the cut and push on. So, yeah, I made the cut and now I’m trying to move up the leaderboard.”
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Wearing a target at the U.S. Open is nothing new for Adam Scott.
He had a green jacket-shaped bull’s-eye on his back as last year’s Masters champion at Merion.
Being the world’s top-ranked player at Pinehurst No. 2 this week comes with much more stress.
”Last year, I felt the weight of the world off my shoulders – I had just won my first major, so I thought everything was bonus from there,” Scott said. ”Certainly a little bit of expectation on myself and maybe from everyone else as being the No. 1 player at the moment, to perform like that. That’s something I’ve tried to adjust to after the last few weeks since being No. 1.”
During a round dominated by Martin Kaymer’s record-breaking second straight 65, Scott had an under-the-radar 67 that marked his best score at a U.S. Open, and just the third time in 13 years that he’s been under par there.
That helped him move to even par – 10 strokes behind Kaymer.
”I needed a good one today,” Scott said. ”I think I probably got the better end of the draw on the first two days, coming out early after a bit of soaking rain overnight and that front nine certainly we could fire a little more aggressively at the pins. Hit some good shots and made some putts today and it still felt like hard work, but I’m very happy with the score.”
It’s been 42 years since someone other than Tiger Woods (2002) won the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year. Jack Nicklaus was the last to do it in 1972.
Scott couldn’t do it last year, finishing in a tie for 45th at Merion, and current Masters champion Bubba Watson wrapped up his second round at 6 over.
”They are both such demanding tests of your game, and to be in that kind of form those two weeks in the one year is asking a lot,” Scott said. ”The competition is getting stronger and stronger and only a guy with Tiger’s record has been able to do that, and it shows you how hard that is.”
IN IT TO QUINN IT: Fran Quinn will get to spend some quality time with his son on Father’s Day.
The 49-year-old Web.com Tour journeyman followed his opening-round 68 with a 74 that left him 2 over and assured of making the cut.
That means he’ll get to play Sunday with 15-year-old son Owen as his caddie.
”It’s the U.S. Open. You go out there … all the stands are packed, people are cheering for you,” Quinn said. ”People are rooting for you. People love the story. And, you know, it’s pretty neat to see a father playing with his son caddying on the bag on Father’s Day weekend.”
Simply making the cut is a huge deal for Quinn, a Massachusetts player who failed to make it to the weekend of his only Web.com Tour event this year and is in his first U.S. Open since 1996.
He had to play his way to Pinehurst this year at a sectional qualifier in Purchase, New York.
BATTLE OF THE BLUES: Leave it to the USGA to stoke one of the nation’s most intense rivalries in college sports.
This is a region where school ties run deep. And perhaps with that in mind, one of the Friday morning groupings included former University of North Carolina player Mark Wilson and Duke graduate Joe Ogilvie.
The USGA resorted to a bit of wordplay with the final member of the threesome – Ken Duke.
That led Ogilvie to quip that playing with Ken Duke ”is much better than playing with Ken Carolina.”
USGA FAREWELL: Joe Ogilvie has played his final round at a USGA event.
The former Duke player tweeted after his round Friday that this U.S. Open would be his final USGA event as a player.
Ogilvie shot a 76 and was at 9 over through two rounds.