The other story of the day continues to be PGA Tour rookie Andrew Landry, the 28 year old who played at the University of Arkansas. Landry got it to five under par before bogies at seven and eight dropped him back to -3 with one hole left. An eight footer for birdie awaits him when he gets out to the ninth hole to finish his round tomorrow morning. If he makes it, he'll enjoy a two stroke cushion with Bubba Watson and Danny Lee right on his heels. One round under par round has been carded, that one by amateur qualifier Scottie Scheffler, who was able to get into the locker room with a 69 on the par 70 layout.
I was able to get out and walk the back nine, which along with the first and ninth holes is on the southern side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which bisects the course. It was after the second delay, so footing was treacherous and it was difficult to navigate the rolling terrain. But it appeared that the closely cut fairways remained firm and the greens, while more receptive to shots, were still quick enough to pose problems for the players. Even with the soft conditions, only six of the first 78 players out are below par, although there is a fairly sizable group of eight players at even par.
One of the highlights of the day for me was being able to get on the practice range and stand behind the players as they warmed up. They used a variety of techniques, with some clearly working on different aspects of their swing, with others content with simply getting loose before their round. With the exception of a few drives, where spectators can sometimes get behind the players on the tee box, we don't generally get the opportunity to get that close to them as they hit iron shots. The precision and consistency of their ball striking is remarkable, with the ball making a wonderful clicking sound as it leaves the clubface. It takes a lot of hours on the range and in most cases, exceptional instruction to get a golf game good enough to compete at this level.
Tomorrow I plan on making a visit to the locker room to see if I can gather some more insights into the life of a professional golfer competing at a major championship. Keep checking my blog throughout the weekend for my observations and news from Oakmont.