19 Jun 2021 | Professional golf |

Jones leads Aussies at US Open

by Martin Blake

Richard Bland image
Veteran Richard Bland blasts from a bunker on his way to the US Open lead today. Photo: USGA

Matt Jones emerged as the leading Australian at the US Open today as the seven-man antipodean contingent sat off the pace.

Jones was steady and reliable in his second-round even-par 71 at Torrey Pines South to go into the weekend at one over par, six from the lead.

American Russell Henley sleeps with the lead for the second consecutive day at five under par after he posted a 69 to go with his opening 67, along with the 48-year-old Englishman Richard Bland, who is chasing fairytales again.

Bland made headlines recently when he won his first European Tour event at his 478th attempt, is close up as well after a superb 67 that puts him in the final group for Saturday.

A cluster of the Aussies were slightly off the pace, including world No. 28 Cameron Smith, who had two triple-bogey sevens on his card in a second-round 75. At five over par Smith signed his card and prepared to head home to his Florida base for the weekend.

“There was lots of good and just a few bad holes in there,” said Smith. “It was pretty disappointing, actually.”

Marc Leishman hit a gorgeous, spinning wedge and made a nice birdie from two metres at the 18th to shoot 70 and get himself to two over, ensuring he would make the cut at two over par overall.

Adam Scott struggled to a 75 but made the weekend at three over par, although he called his golf “terrible”.

Wade Ormsby (four over overall after a 74 today) sneaked back inside the cut-line late in the day as the scores edged higher. But Steve Allan (80-79) is going home to Arizona, while Brad Kennedy (78 today) could not extend his time in San Diego.

Meanwhile the veteran Bland continued to be the surprise packet following his remarkable win in the British Masters a few weeks ago, shooting a brilliant 67. The Englishman said that while he went 20 years without winning, he never seriously considered another career.

“Yeah, but golf is all I know,” he said. “When times got tough and I lost my card two or three times, I think, what am I going to do, go and get an office job? I'm not that intelligent, I'm afraid.

“So it was just, right, okay, I've always been someone that can get my head down and work hard, and I always knew I had the game to compete on the European Tour at the highest level. I've always known that.”

Henley was quiet for much of the day but a beautiful tee shot on the-par three eighth hole, his 17th of the day, gave him the birdie that he needed to get the outright lead. He had not made a bogey all day but out of nowhere at the par-five ninth he three-putted to drop a shot and fall back into joint leadership with Bland.

A bunch of major winners, including Louis Oosthuizen (-4) and Bubba Watson (-3) as well as recent world No. 1 Jon Rahm (-3) are in the mix.


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