Mickelson among top guns ousted

Oakmont, June 16:

Argentina’s Angel Cabrera birdied his final hole to seize the halfway lead in the US Open on an Oakmont course that humbled golf’s best, including Tiger Woods. Cabrera added a one-over 71 to his first-round 69 for an even-par total of 140. Everyone else was over par.

When he sank his three-footer at his closing hole, the par-four ninth, Cabrera grabbed a one-shot lead over American Bubba Watson and also put paid to world No 2 Phil Mickelson’s chances of playing on the weekend. Watson carded a 71 for sole possession of second place. Australian Aaron Baddeley, England’s Justin Rose, Trinidad-born Canadian Stephen Ames and Sweden’s Niclas Fasth shared third on 142, with England’s Paul Casey a further shot back.

Mickelson, who missed the cut with an 11-over total after a 77, wasn’t alone in his struggles on the par-70 course, whose tilting, glassy greens lived up to their formidable reputation. World No 1 Woods carded a four-over 74 for a five-over 145. The round of the day belonged to England’s Paul Casey, whose 66 for a three-over 143.

Overnight leader Nick Dougherty of England, with Cabrera the only players under par on Thursday, settled for a 77 to join Woods on 145. Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia posted a 75 for 146. Vijay Singh and Jose Maria Olazabal were among a group on 148, and South African Ernie Els, who won the last US Open held at Oakmont in 1994, was on 149.

The halfway cut fell at 10-over 150, which saw Mickelson miss it by a stroke. He dropped six shots in four holes beginning with a double-bogey at seven, followed by two bogeys and finishing up with another double-bogey at the 10th. Other notable names who failed to advance included Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen and world No 4 Adam Scott.