England's Paul Casey sank a birdie putt at the par-5 18th hole to tie Shaun Micheel for the U.S. Open lead with a 2-under-par 69 today at Pebble Beach. Moments later, Brendon De Jonge sank a knee-knocking par putt to join them. Although scoring conditions seemed ideal in the morning, Casey, Micheel and De Jonge are the only three players to score in the 60s.
The magic number is 22 -- as in the number of putts by Micheel. Casey took just one more. Neither Casey nor Micheel was especially proficient with their shnotmaking, but they putted lights out. Casey hit only six of 18 greens in regulation and hit five of 14 fairways. Micheel was only slightly better at seven of 18 greens and eight of 14 fairways. De Jonge needed 28 putts to get around, indicating he hit the ball in better places most of the round and didn't have to scramble nearly as much.
By way of contrast, Tiger Woods has 32 putts through 17 holes and stands at +2 after a three-putt bogey at No. 16 and a missed birdie opportunity from about 15 feet at No. 17. What does it all mean?
There's still a very long ways to go.