Friday, June 22, 2018
Sports

Ball blunder takes down duo

PINEHURST, N.C. — Whose ball is that anyway?

U.S. Open playing partners Hunter Mahan and Jamie Donaldson finally came up with the right answer Friday — too late to do either much good.

Each played the other's ball after teeing off on No. 18, though they were playing their ninth hole of the day. Neither realized the mistake until they got to the green. Both were given a two-shot penalty and missed the cut.

"It was 100 percent on me. I was the first one to the ball," said John Wood, Mahan's caddie.

He went on to explain that both players use "kind of an interesting slash across the number, which is not very common" to mark their balls.

"The only thing I can think of is I saw a slash and assumed it was Hunter's. That's all I can think of," Wood added. "I don't believe I did something that epically dumb, but I did."

"I mean, I don't know, it was one of those things I couldn't explain to you," Mahan said. "Off the tee, it looked like that's where my ball should have been."

After sorting out the confusion on the green, both players walked back up the fairway and replayed the shot from the correct spot. Each wound up making 6. Had they teed off on the next hole without doing so, they would have been disqualified.

Mahan shot 2-over 72 and 6 over for the Open, missing the cut by one. Donaldson, who left before talking to reporters, shot 81 and finished 11 over.

Early present: Kevin Kisner got a jump on Father's Day by coaxing his own dad out of the gallery to serve as a last-minute caddie. Kisner, 30, was 8 over and certain to miss the cut in his first Open when he arrived at No. 16. He said a double bogey there convinced him to send regular caddie Duane Bock into the crowd and turn the bib over to Steve Kisner. "At first I was a little concerned about interfering with the group," Steve said. "One of the guys still had a chance to make the cut, and I didn't want to change the flow. But once (Kevin) insisted, I was glad to do it." The reason for his reluctance initially might have been about more than just disrupting the flow. "You weren't drinking a beer or anything out there, were you?" a reporter asked. "Actually, I had a couple out there," Steve said, "so I might be a good interview."

ONE LEFT: The only amateur to make the cut won't be one for much longer. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 4 over through two rounds, is scheduled to make his pro debut next week at the Irish Open.

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