PINEHURST, N.C. – Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Hunter Mahan went off at 8:13 a.m. on Friday morning, both with a chance to make the cut at the U.S. Open.
Donaldson shot an even-par 70 in Thursday’s first round and Mahan a 74 on Pinehurst No. 2.
With the cut line moving up from 2 over to at least 4 over, Mahan’s three birdies in the first four holes moved him comfortably under the cut line, but a bogey on the 16th hole made Mahan’s quest to make his sixth cut in America's national championship a little more daunting, but still under the line.
But everything changed when John Wood, Mahan’s caddie walked to the wrong ball in the 18th fairway, starting a rules violation that cost both Donaldson and Mahan two shots and made Friday’s second round likely their last of the 2014 U.S. Open.
“It was one of the freak things that happen,” Donaldson said as he packed his golf bag for the trip across the pond. “Carelessness on both our parts, nobody’s to blame, you just check your golf ball don’t you?”
Rule 15-3 covers hitting the wrong ball under the rules of golf. It states if a player hits the wrong ball he must return to where his ball was and hit his shot again with a two-shot penalty.
If Mahan or Donaldson didn’t return to the spots and re-hit they would have been disqualified if they had teed off on the next hole.
“Off the tee it looked like Hunter's was in the left center and Jamie's was on the left edge,” Wood said. “And we got up there and they were switched and we didn't realize it.”
The double-bogey six that both players recorded put both in a difficult spot to make the cut.
Mahan bounced back quickly with a birdie on the first hole, but it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for Mahan from then on with four bogeys and two birdies on his second nine to seemingly miss the cut by one shot. Mahan finished with a 2-over 72.
For Donaldson, his round was spiraling out of control far before the double bogey at the 18th, turning in an 8-over 43 on his first nine and coming home in 3 over for a disappointing 11-over 81.