US Open Diary: Could Sergio make it two-in-a-row?

Meanwhile, E. Coli scare at Erin Hills, by the numbers, quote of the day and more

Sergio Garcia of Spain and caddie Glen Murray wait for the green to clear at the 18th during the first round of the US Open at Erin Hills. Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Sergio Garcia of Spain and caddie Glen Murray wait for the green to clear at the 18th during the first round of the US Open at Erin Hills. Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

 

Well, the Grand Slam in the same calendar year – a feat not even the legendary Jack Nicklaus managed – is still on for Sergio Garcia.

The Spaniard collected his first Major title when donning the green jacket for winning the Masters in April and kept alive his chances of claiming the US Open by tagging a second round 71 to his opening 70 for a midway total of 141, three-under-par, to be very much in contention.

“Hopefully, keep the confidence going, keep the momentum and see if we can have a good weekend and have a chance on Sunday,” responded Garcia about how he would approach the second part of the challenge on a course where the greens were getting slicker almost by the minute.

“I’ve always liked when a course plays tougher. Obviously my game is on when the course is playing tougher. I think I have a little bit of an advantage, but at the same time you have to be more on when it gets like that because if not, then you’re going to struggle. We’ll see, we can’t control Mother Nature and we’ll see what happens.”

Shamrock greeting at Erin Hills

Blacksmiths are not all about shoeing racehorses, as evidenced by the large sculpture commissioned by the USGA to form part of the artwork at Erin Hills.

Standing almost 10 feet high and measuring a similar width, the sculpture is a replica of this year’s championship logo – an ornate shamrock – and is made of steel.

The artwork was created by Kent Knapp, owner of Milwaukee Blacksmith who came to the attention of the USGA through his family’s reality television show on the History channel.

E. Coli found in the water

Given that temperatures were touching 30 degrees Celsius on each of the opening two rounds, news that local health officials had found evidence of E. Coli at one of the on-course hydration stations caused a bit of a scare.

The water sample at the hydration station was closed after the finding, and the USGA then took the decision to offer complimentary bottles of water – normally costing $3 at any of the concession stands – to spectators.

Health officials said no illnesses had been reported, but some US Open visitors may have consumed the contaminated water between Tuesday and Thursday when the station was in use. Although certain types of E. Coli are harmless, it can cause vomiting, fever and other gastrointensinal issues.

By the numbers

5/14 & 11/14: Rory McIlroy’s driver improved, from hitting only five of 14 fairways in the first round to finding 11 of 14 in the second round. Unfortunately for the Holywood star, he failed to survive the midway cut.

Quote of the day

“I said to one of the other players ‘why are they cheering three shots like that?’” – Andrew “Beef” Johnston, after all three players in his group missed the green with their tee shots at the Par 3 ninth, wondering why the crowd cheered them onto the green. The first staging of a US Open in Wisconsin has witnessed enthusiastic crowds.

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