Pebble Beach, Calif. • Utah’s contingent at the 119th U.S. Open golf tournament — Tony Finau, Zac Blair and Mike Weir — has some work to do if they hope to make it to the weekend at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
All three are in danger of missing the cut — Blair more than the other two after shooting a 12-over-par 83 — heading into Friday’s second round.
Finau and Weir carded 3-over 74s. The cut should be around 2-over par.
“I am one good round away from being in the thick of it,” Finau said, despite making a momentum-killing bogey on Pebble’s famed 18th hole, a par-5. “After tomorrow we will know where everybody is at after 36 holes, with the conditions and things.”
In other words, Finau will get a shot at the course Friday morning, when scoring conditions should be more favorable than they were when he played Thursday afternoon.
“I am hitting it nicely,” Finau said. “I just got to score better tomorrow.”
Finau’s group, which included Ian Poulter and Jimmy Walker, played behind two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka’s group and in front of Tiger Woods’ group, so the crowds were enormous, even if most fans were paying little attention to Finau, a West High graduate who currently resides in Lehi.
“I would rather be playing with them,” Finau said. "I think it gives it a different feel when they are around you, because people aren’t really paying attention to you. They are paying attention to the group behind me and the group in front of me. So I would much rather be playing with them. But it comes with the territory.”
Finau made bogeys on No. 2 and No. 8 to make the turn 2-over, and was 3-over before he made his first birdie of the day, on No. 14. He followed that with a birdie on No. 15, but gave some shots back on 16 and 18.
He’s not Tiger, but Finau hears his share of “Tony, Tony” when he’s playing in majors. He was one of the few players who walked over to sign autographs after his round.
“Hopefully my game and my personality [make me popular],” he said. " I think those are probably the two main things. They think I am a great golfer, and hopefully a good guy."
Considering the way he started his round — with back-to-back bogeys — Weir should feel good about heading into Friday’s second round at just 3-over.
The 49-year-old former BYU golfer who now lives in Sandy also made a bogey on his last hole, No. 9, having started his day on No. 10.
Scott Piercy of Las Vegas, who started his college career at BYU, shot a 4-under 67, despite making a bogey on the relatively easy par-5 18th hole. Piercy was tied for second when the morning wave of players had completed their rounds and starts Friday tied for sixth.
Justin Rose is the leader after shooting a 6-under 65.
Piercy, who played in the second group of the day when the Poa annua greens were still in excellent condition, said they might be “some of the best surfaces in the world.”
He was 5-under through seven holes, having made an eagle on the par-5 6th hole, but made a double-bogey on No. 8.
“Starting off the way I did was kind of a dream in the U.S. Open,” Piercy said.
Weir, a Canadian who won the Masters in 2003, smiled occasionally as fans in the gallery reminded him the Toronto Raptors were playing in the NBA Finals on Thursday night.
It was an adventurous round, as Weir made eight bogeys and five birdies. He was even-par after birdies on No. 13 and No. 14, but gave those back with bogeys on holes 15 through 17 and never got back to even. His last birdie came on Pebble Beach’s signature hole, the short par-3 7th, when he hit his tee shot to within 5 feet of the hole and sank the putt.
Blair, another BYU product, had a forgettable round and tied for the worst round of the day with Eric Dietrich, a pro from Cheshire, Conn.
Blair was 6-over after four holes, with two double-bogeys, and never really recovered. He did play his final six holes 1-under par.