ERIN, Wisconsin, June 16 (Reuters) - Paul Casey overcame a stunning triple-bogey eight at the par-five 14th, his fifth hole, to lift himself into a share of the second-round lead at the U.S. Open on Friday.
The Englishman rallied with a string of five birdies in a row on the way to a one-under 71 that put the smile back on his face and his name on top of the leaderboard at Erin Hills.
“Not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an eight on the card, but I‘m a pretty happy man,” Casey said after his round.
Following the afternoon wave, Casey must have been positively beaming because the long-hitting 39-year-old surprisingly found himself in a four-way tie for the halfway lead at seven-under 137.
Casey refused to let the triple get him down and accepted accountability.
“It was a good display, all my own fault, of what can happen if you get out of position on this golf course, which is what I did on 14,” said 14th-ranked Casey.
“Even just trying to take my medicine is very, very difficult. It’s a good eight in the end.”
Casey did not lose faith in his game plan and that paid off.
“It felt great. Clearly the game plan is pretty good,” he said about his run of birdies that began at 17 and raged on through the turn.
Looking towards the weekend, he said all the low scoring on the rain-softened course could abruptly end.
“It doesn’t need to be too much of a change for this golf course to play pretty difficult,” said Casey.
“If the sun stays like it is and the wind keeps baking this golf course out, it’s pretty treacherous on the weekend, which is just what I would like, and I think what the rest of the players want to see.”
Casey said he would not change his approach as he pursues his first major.
”It doesn’t affect the game plan one bit, and it doesn’t really affect the mindset,“ he said. ”There will probably be more nerves, more excitement.
“I’ve shown what can happen with one bad swing. So you’ve got to be very, very patient and stay in the moment. I know it’s cliché, but the last thing you need to be doing is thinking ahead, especially on this golf course.”
Editing by Andrew Both