The U.S. Open is not complete without a handful of victims entering the weekend, and The Country Club played no favorites through the first 36 holes in Brookline, Massachusetts. Journeymen and amateurs have seen their national championship aspirations come to an end, but they are not alone as some of the biggest names in professional golf have been sent packing after falling on the wrong side of the 3 over cutline.
World No. 6 Cameron Smith is the highest-ranked player in the world to be missing out on the weekend as the Australian was never able to get comfortable around Brookline. Signing for rounds of 72-74, Smith had opportunities late in his second round to push towards the latter half of the U.S. Open but ultimately fell short.
Smith's game has often been riddled with volatility -- it is one of the reasons he's actually so good -- and the same can be said for Phil Mickelson. Celebrating his 52nd birthday on Thursday is all Mickelson could be happy about this week as it was an exhausting few days up in Massachusetts.
Kicking off his latest career slam attempt with an 8-over 78, the six-time runner-up followed his opening round with a 3-over 73 on Friday. Failing to consistently split fairways and oftentimes struggling with the putter in hand, Mickelson's U.S. Open was cut short for the third time since 2016.
"It was spectacular to come back to such a historic course, and I thought the setup was remarkable," said Mickelson. "Just really showcased what a special place this is. ... I enjoyed the week. Wish I had played better."
Two golfers who played well for most of their championships were Viktor Hovland and Tony Finau. In fact, after making birdies on two of his first seven holes on Friday, Hovland found himself at 2 under for the tournament and on the first page of the leaderboard. Able to conquer the initial portion of the more difficult back side at The Country Club, Hovland stumbled coming home. Carding bogeys on nine of his next 11 holes, the young Norwegian's name plummeted down the leaderboard, and he ultimately finished with a 36-hole total of 7-over 147.
According to the U.S. Open website, Hovland had a 99% chance to make the cut when he had reached 2 under. A player who experienced a similar drop from near certainty was Finau, who opened with a 3-over 73 on Thursday. Even par on his day through his first 16 holes, Finau arrived at the accessible par-5 eighth hoping to add some breathing space between him and the cut line.
Instead, he made an inexplicable bogey and repeated this misstep on his closing hole to miss the cut by two strokes. Cruising for most of the morning, Finau saw just a couple of moments in which he lacked concentration cause his misfortune. Sometimes, at an event like the U.S. Open, that is all it takes for disaster to strike.
2022 U.S. Open missed cuts
- Sergio Garcia: +4
- Billy Horschel: +4
- Webb Simpson: +4
- Tony FInau: +5
- Louis Oosthuizen: +6
- Cameron Smith: +6
- Tommy Fleetwood: +7
- Viktor Hovland: +7
- Phil Mickelson: +11
Rick Gehman is joined by Kyle Porter and Greg DuCharme to recap Friday's action at The Country Club. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.