Ottawa Citizen

It goes bad quickly for young Canadian

- BY CAM COLE

Nick Taylor LA JOLLA, California • was 12 holes into his second round and hanging on by his fingernail­s, with a fighter’s chance to make the cut in his first U.S. Open. Then the bottom fell out.

The 20-year-old defending Canadian Amateur champion from Abbotsford, B.C., went 4 over on his next three holes, including a couple of missed twofoot putts, en route to a 75 that left him at 10 over for the tournament and on the outside looking in at this weekend’s final two rounds.

“I went out thinking 7 or 8 (over) might make it, but I wasn’t really thinking about it during the round,” said Taylor, who made some spectacula­r saves early in the round to stay at even par, 6 over for the tournament. “The whole day I was just feeling uncomforta­ble, but I was hanging in, then I missed it in a real bad spot on No. 6, and when I missed that putt (to make double-bogey), maybe two or 21⁄

2 feet, it took a lot of wind out of my sails.

“And the next hole, I hit a spike mark and missed that.”

He drove the ball beautifull­y, but was unable to score.

“He always drives it well,” said Taylor’s brother Josh, his caddy this week over the long, difficult Torrey Pines South layout. “But when you’re hitting four-irons into greens all day, you’re going to miss some of them.”

All three of Canada’s PGA Tour members did survive the 36-hole cut — Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont., who shot 74, and Jon Mills of Oshawa, Ont., (75) at 5 over, and Stephen Ames of Calgary (74) at 6 over, along with Ian Leggatt of Cambridge, Ont., who needed a birdie at the 18th to shoot 76. Brantford, Ont.,’s David Hearn shot 75 and missed the cut, as did Yohann Benson of Montreal, who had no chance after an opening 83.

“I played better, but three bogeys and 15 pars … I hit it close at 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, just didn’t get anything out of the round,” Weir said. “I had a lot of putts I thought were going in, two feet from the hole, but that’s poa greens. You just never know until it’s in the hole.”

“The greens were better this morning, as you’d expect,” said Ames, who had been critical of the putting surfaces on Thursday afternoon. “I didn’t hit it very well. I think anyone else would have shot 80 (yesterday), hitting it the way I did.

“But I’m sure Sean (Foley, his swing coach) will have seen what I’m doing wrong, and we’ll go fix it on the range, and then you never know. I’m putting very well, considerin­g.”

Ames, who played a practice round with Taylor on Tuesday, wasn’t sure what to make of the youngster’s game.

Asked if he felt Taylor — a junior at the University of Washington who was runner-up in the NCAA championsh­ip — had the tools to be a Tour player, Ames was dubious.

“Tools-wise? No,” he said. “He’s got an odd everything about him. He’s obviously got a strong mind to get him where he is, and what he’s done, which is key. If he could re-tool (the swing), he’d be fine.”

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