Matthew Wolff, who grew up in Agoura Hills, made a run for the title in his first U.S. Open appearance.
Here’s a look at how SoCal hometown pros fared in our national championship
Bryson DeChambeau stole the show with this runaway victory at the U.S. Open last week. For nine SoCal hometown pros who teed it up at Winged Foot, it was more a mixed bag of success and snafu.
Storylines were not lacking. From rising stars destined for major championship glory such as Matthew Wolff and Xander Schauffele to aging warriors Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods with 20 majors between them, the 120th playing of our national championship reminds us of the immense talent spawned from our neck of the woods.
What follows is a report card for nine SoCal tour pros who gave it their all in this year’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot, some of whom soared, while others, at least this time, stumbled.
Player: Matthew Wolff
Hometown: Agoura Hills
Finish: 2nd (Even par)
If was a rollercoaster week at Winged Foot for Matthew Wolff, who at 21 years old was playing in his first U.S. Open and just his second major championship. Fresh off his T4 at the PGA Championship in August, he opened with a 66 in the first round that included five birdies against just one bogey. He followed it up with a back-down-to-earth 74, while his record-tying round of 65 on Saturday included a scorching 30 on the front nine and put him two shots clear of the field. And while he trailed by just a shot with nine holes to play, whether it was the pressure of the moment or the buzzsaw that was Bryson DeChambeau, a final-round 75 left Wolff at even-par for the tournament and six shots in arrears. “I played really tough all week,” Wolff told the media after the round. “I battled hard. Things just didn’t go my way. But first U.S. Open, second place is something to be proud of and hold your head up high for. I’m just excited to learn from this experience, and it’s definitely not the last time that I’m going to be in this spot.” Well said, indeed.
Player: Xander Schauffele
Hometown: San Diego
Finish: 5th (+4)
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when Xander Schauffele is going to win his first major. He’s that solid. At 26 years old he has more top-5 finishes in majors than most journeyman have in their careers. Fun fact: In his four U.S. Open appearances, he’s never finished outside of the top six. At Winged Foot, he opened with rounds of 68-72-70 and found himself in contention. He stood just five shots back with only a few players separating him from Matthew Wolff’s final-round lead. Schauffele stumbled with a couple of early bogeys, but got himself right back in it with back-to-back birdies to close out the front nine. A solid homestretch would have put pressure on the frontrunners, but it wasn’t to be. Five bogeys over the last six holes doomed his chances.
Player: Patrick Cantlay
Hometown: Long Beach
Finish: T43 (+15)
Patrick Cantlay is a gritty player perfectly suited for the grind that is the U.S. Open. This, however, was not going to be his year. After carding an even-par 70 in the first round, he followed that with I-really-coulda-scored-better rounds of 76-76-73. Over the course of the tournament, he hit some good shots, got a few bad breaks and, most importantly, kept grinding. Well out of the championship heading into the final round, he didn’t mail it in. After going bogey-bogey to start, he played his next 16 holes in 1-over par. Pretty gritty for the U.S. Open on Sunday.
Player: Rickie Fowler
Finish: T49 (+17)
Fowler opened his 2020 U.S. Open campaign solidly enough with a 69. Making the turn at 3-under, he was among the hottest players on the course at the time. Unfortunately, the glory was short-lived and it was downhill from there. Playing the next 63 holes in 20-over par, his ensuing rounds of 77-72-79 left him well back in the pack. There’s no question Winged Foot toughened up and started showing its teeth after the opening round. Fowler’s scorecards reflected that with 14 bogeys and four doubles against just four birdies over the final three rounds.
Player: Collin Morikawa
Hometown: Los Angeles
Finish: Missed Cut (+7)
The reigning PGA Champion could be forgiven if he arrived at Winged Foot still a little hungover from the whirlwind of activity that likely followed the major victory. His opening-round 76 was predictable, if not mildly disappointing, and left him well off the pace. But he battled back nicely on Friday, getting it to 2-under though 10 before signing for a 71. His 7-over-par total left him just one shy of the cut, which had to be painful because he played some good golf and definitely left a handful of shots out there. Golfworld reported that Morikawa told the media on Tuesday prior to the tournament: “We're on a different stage now. This is the big time. This is the major. You've got to step up, and you can't be scared of taking another step because that puts you in another level of golf.” Morikawa didn’t exactly step up at Winged Foot, but he didn’t quite back down either.
Player: Tiger Woods
Finish: Missed Cut (+10)
The bad news for Tiger is that he never really got anything cooking at Winged Foot. His lackluster rounds of 73-77 found him four strokes shy of the cut line. In the end, his two-day scorecard tallied 11 bogeys and three doubles against seven birdies. Give up a couple of shots here, get back a shot there. It just wasn’t the recipe Woods needed to make a run at his fourth U.S. Open title and 16th major overall. The good news is that there’s always next year. The even-better news is that next year the U.S. Open returns to Torrey Pines in La Jolla, site of Tiger’s epic triumph in 2008. Add his victories at the Farmers Insurance Open and Tiger has won eight times at Torrey Pines. Next year will mark Tiger’s 25th year on Tour. We’re not ready to count him out just yet.
Player: Kevin Na
Hometown: Diamond Bar
Finished: Missed Cut (+12)
Kevin Na has never been a flashy player. He goes about his business in a workman-like way and generally gets the job done. Not so much at Winged Foot, where hard-fought rounds of 75-77 left him well outside the cutline. Everyone is gonna make bogeys at the U.S. Open, but making 14 of them over 36 holes is too much for anyone to overcome.
Player: Phil Mickelson
Hometown: San Diego
Finished: Missed Cut (+13)
Any hope of redemption from his coulda-shoulda-woulda collapse on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot in 2006 evaporated quickly for Mickelson in 2020. The record-setting, six-time U.S. Open runner-up got off to a sloppy start in the opening round with nine bogeys and a double, and was never able to clean things up. His rounds of 79-74 were at times painful to watch. And not just because of his shell-shocked expressions, but mostly because he’d been playing well heading into the tournament and there was that glimmer of hope on Thursday morning that maybe, just maybe…
Player: Max Homa
Finished: Missed Cut (+14)
No birdies in the opening round for Homa led to a buzzkill 78, followed by trunk-slammin’ 76 for a two-day total of 14-over par. On the bright side, he did finish ahead of a couple of former major champions in Sergio Garcia (+15) and Graeme McDowell (+16). But not to worry, Homa will be back. He has to be. He birdied his final hole in Friday’s round. Isn’t that what keeps us all coming back?
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Greetings, fellow golfers, and welcome to SoCal Golf Insider! We are Rob Lyon and Eric Marson and we've been reporting and writing about the game throughout the region since 1995. Here, we will provide you with the latest news, features, reviews and more on all things golf in Southern California. Let’s tee it up!
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