Landry, Lingmerth and Tracy on the Leaderboard: I had the pleasure to speak with a couple of University of Arkansas grads who also happen to be in the mix after two rounds of the 116th US Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club. Andrew Landry, after holding the lead after round one, shot a one-over par seventy-one to hold onto second place entering the third round. Swede David Lingmerth recovered from an opening seventy-two to shoot a one-under sixty-nine and sits in a tie for sixteenth as the players prepare to tee off a little later this afternoon.
Landry, who will turn twenty-six later this summer, came into this event very confident, despite making five of eleven cuts and currently standing 203rd in the FedEx Cup standings. He qualified for the PGA Tour this season by virtue of his twenty-first place finish on last year's Web.com Tour. After a difficult stretch on the front nine where he went four over par in three holes, he righted the ship and birdied the final two holes. When asked about the three bogies on six, seven and eight, he commented "I didn't hit bad shots. I made good swings...I didn't really do anything that bad besides just not hitting fairways." When asked what he did to keep from focusing too much on the lead during the day off, he just stayed "with family and friends. Just hanging out, keeping my mind off of it and eating and drinking waters."
Speaking of family, I had an opportunity to briefly speak with Andrew's parents, who are obviously very proud. Both indicated what a great Fathers Day gift it has been to have him playing well and in contention. They were getting ready to grab something to eat and head back out to follow their son in what will be quite a third round, paired with Dustin Johnson. As for the Razorback connection, Andrew mentioned that he gets a lot of support from University of Arkansas fans, and that his golf coach, Brad McMakin continues to be quite supportive. He added, "There's also David Lingmerth. He's out here as well." And for any Hogs fans out there that wondered if he snuck a couple of other beverages yesterday, here was his response. "Not beer, not cold beer." Perhaps that will change with a strong finish this weekend.
Lingmerth, who was a two-time All American while at the University of Arkansas, is in his fourth season on the PGA Tour. After a win in 2015 and a thirty-seventh place finish in the FedEx Cup race, he is currently 46th and has made the cut in thirteen of seventeen tournaments. He has amassed over $6 million in earnings, so it's fair to say he's a success on tour. When asked if he thinks his wave got an advantage in the way the weather delays altered play, he indicated that it was probably a wash. Even though the other wave had to play thirty-six holes yesterday, he said the stopping and starting on Thursday, combined with having to come back out and play Friday morning, was tough. Lingmerth says he's playing pretty well and looks forward to the weekend, even if it involves playing two full rounds today. As far as Razorback fan support goes, he sang the same tune as Landry. His coach is still heavily involved and fans of the University of Arkansas are very much behind him.
A third Razorback also made the cut this week. Twenty-six year old Ethan Tracy, who has been competing on the Latin American and McKenzie-Canada tours, completed his even par seventy this morning to get in the clubhouse at three over par, a tie for twenty-seventh. I didn't have an opportunity to speak with Tracy, but his strong play this weekend could clearly be a nice springboard for his career.
With three former Hogs in the top thirty, it's fair to say U of A fans will have a lot to keep them glued to Fox Sports and the US Open the next couple of days.
Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first two, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel" and "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords. Tune into www.WPFLRADIO.com at 8:40 am EST every Friday for my Beyond the Commentary segment on "Lou in the Morning" with Lou Vickery and Jonathan McMath.