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Scheffler goes without a birdie for a 74 and narrowly avoids an early exit from US Open

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Scheffler goes without a birdie for a 74 and narrowly avoids an early exit from US Open
Sport

Sport

Scheffler goes without a birdie for a 74 and narrowly avoids an early exit from US Open

2024-06-15 07:45 Last Updated At:07:51

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — Scottie Scheffler chose iron off the tee for position Friday in the U.S. Open and sent it well right of the fairway toward trouble, whether that was a bunker or the dusty dunes or the native plants dotting the landscape.

“What are you DOING?” he said to himself as he watched the ball sail offline.

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Scottie Scheffler walks to the green on the 10th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — Scottie Scheffler chose iron off the tee for position Friday in the U.S. Open and sent it well right of the fairway toward trouble, whether that was a bunker or the dusty dunes or the native plants dotting the landscape.

Scottie Scheffler hits from the fairway on the 11th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Scottie Scheffler hits from the fairway on the 11th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the 12th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the 12th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Scottie Scheffler hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Scottie Scheffler hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the seventh hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the seventh hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the second hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the second hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Not playing great golf would have been one answer if he wanted one.

Pinehurst No. 2 has been getting the best of the No. 1 player in the world. Scheffler had his first birdie-free round in just over two years, a 4-over 74 that left him doubtful he would be back for the weekend.

He barely made it, his 5-over 145 making the cut on the number and leaving him 10 shots behind Ludvig Aberg of Sweden.

“Today I just couldn't get the putts to fall,” Scheffler said. “This golf course can be unpredictable at times, and maybe it got the better of me the last couple days. I'll sit down and think about where we're going and figure it out.”

So much more was expected of Scheffler for so many reasons. He was coming off his fifth victory of the year at the Memorial, another tough test, making him the first player since Tom Watson in 1980 to win five times on the PGA Tour before the U.S. Open.

He had only finished out of the top 10 once this year, and that was a tie for 17th at The American Express in the California desert.

Most of the damage came on one hole, the par-5 fifth, among the easiest at Pinehurst No. 2. Scheffler was in the fairway and some 10 yards away from having a decent look at eagle. Instead, his ball tumbled off the crowned green to the left into a sandy patch with wiregrass bushes, facing a shot up a steep hill to a short pin.

He would have preferred a low runner, except he felt a bush was in his path, so he tried to bump it into the hill. It came up woefully short and rolled back into the sandy area. Then, he blasted it up and over the green. He hit is weakest chip of the day — maybe the year — to 15 feet. And then he missed the putt and ended up with a double bogey.

“Probably on any other golf course, if I hit those two shots — driver, 3-wood — into a green on a par 5, I probably have a pretty good look at birdie,” Scheffler said. “I'm not going to be walking off with a 7. Just unfortunate place for me to put myself.”

It wasn't just that hole. Scheffler didn't convert reasonable birdies on three holes early, and he had a tee shot come back off the green on the par-3 15th. He chipped up just beyond 15 feet and thought his par putt was good all the way until it grazed the edge.

Scheffler flipped his putter in the air in disbelief — a common scene in this aggravating game, except he didn't even attempt to catch it, letting it fall to the turf.

Three holes later, his driver sailed right on the 18th as he was making the turn, and Scheffler smashed the tee in the ground in disgust as it sailed into the unknown. Those kind of shots are easily found. It's just that players have no idea what kind of break they're going to get — clean lie, soft lie, between wiregrass bushes or right behind them. It gets old.

“I think this golf course is fun to play. It's exciting,” Scheffler said. "The only aspect of it I don't really love is the unpredictability of the native areas. I would have preferred for it to be Bermuda rough, but I'm not a course designer.

“My job is to not hit it in there as often as I did this week.”

It also left him wondering about his preparation. Winning can be draining, and Scheffler said he was feeling it after a tough win at Muirfield Village. He prefers not to play the week before a major, but the Memorial is a tough one to miss, not only as a $20 million signature event, but due to Jack Nicklaus creating and hosting the tournament.

“It definitely was a little bit of fatigue,” he said.

Give him a mulligan, and Scheffler said he might have come to Pinehurst No. 2 before he headed to Ohio for the Memorial. He says he might not have been as prepared as he prefers when he stepped onto the first tee Thursday afternoon.

But was it fun?

“Not really,” Scheffler said. “Playing poor golf is not fun. But I like the challenging aspect of it.”

And now he gets two more days of it.

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

Scottie Scheffler walks to the green on the 10th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Scottie Scheffler walks to the green on the 10th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Scottie Scheffler hits from the fairway on the 11th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Scottie Scheffler hits from the fairway on the 11th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the 12th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the 12th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Scottie Scheffler hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Scottie Scheffler hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the seventh hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the seventh hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the second hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the second hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt York)

BALTIMORE (AP) — Aaron Judge hit his 33rd homer for his first RBI in over a week, and the New York Yankees took the opener of their three-game set with AL East-leading Baltimore, beating the Orioles 4-1 on Friday night.

Benches cleared and there was some pushing and shoving in the bottom of the ninth after Orioles outfielder Heston Kjerstad was hit around the ear flap of his helmet by Clay Holmes' pitch.

Gerrit Cole (2-1) pitched six solid innings for the Yankees, who pulled within a game of first place. Baltimore has dropped four in a row.

The teams met for the first time since the Orioles took two of three in New York last month. Since then, the Yankees are 6-13 and Baltimore is 8-12. That has allowed Boston to creep to within 5 1/2 games of the division lead.

Cole allowed a run and five hits, throwing 106 pitches in his longest outing — by both innings and pitches — since returning from elbow problems in the middle of June. Three relievers finished, with Holmes working a hitless ninth for his 21st save in 26 chances.

With one out, a 97 mph pitch by Holmes hit Kjerstad in the helmet. After a delay, Kjerstad was able to get up but left the game. Then things escalated, with Orioles manager Brandon Hyde walking toward the New York dugout and pointing, at which point Yankees catcher Austin Wells tried to restrain Hyde but benches and bullpens emptied.

Hyde was ejected.

Baltimore rookie Cade Povich (1-4) permitted three runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked five and struck out six.

Anthony Volpe led off the second with a single and ended up all the way on third thanks to right fielder Anthony Santander's error. Jose Trevino's double gave New York a 1-0 lead, and a single by Jahmal Jones brought Trevino home.

The Orioles, who were shut out by the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday and Thursday, put the leadoff man on base five times in the first seven innings against New York, but their only run came on an RBI triple by Ramón Urías in the second.

Judge, who had gone eight games without an RBI or an extra-base hit, answered in the third with a drive past the deep left-field wall at Camden Yards. He leads the major leagues in home runs by five over Shohei Ohtani.

Judge walked in his other four plate appearances.

The Yankees added a run in the ninth on Juan Soto's RBI single.

The Orioles are unbeaten in their last 22 series against the AL East, going 16-0-6. The Yankees can end that run with a victory Saturday or Sunday.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: New York put INF J.D. Davis (stomach flu) on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Tuesday. The Yankees recalled INF Jorbit Vivas from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

UP NEXT

Baltimore sends Grayson Rodriguez (11-3) to the mound against Luis Gil (9-5) on Saturday. Gil didn't make it through the second inning of a 17-5 loss to the Orioles at Yankee Stadium last month.

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

CORRECTS PLAYER NAME TO HESTON KJERSTAD - Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad, center, steals second base in front of New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe, left, during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

CORRECTS PLAYER NAME TO HESTON KJERSTAD - Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad, center, steals second base in front of New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe, left, during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad, left, is evaluated by a trainer, right, after being hit by a pitch from New York Yankees reliever Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad, left, is evaluated by a trainer, right, after being hit by a pitch from New York Yankees reliever Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Players clear the benches after Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad was hit by a pitch from New York Yankees reliever Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Players clear the benches after Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad was hit by a pitch from New York Yankees reliever Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Players clear the benches after Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad was hit by a pitch from New York Yankees reliever Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Players clear the benches after Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad was hit by a pitch from New York Yankees reliever Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Players clear the benches after Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad was hit by a pitch from New York Yankees reliever Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Players clear the benches after Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad was hit by a pitch from New York Yankees reliever Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad reacts after being hit by a pitch from New York Yankees relief pitcher Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad reacts after being hit by a pitch from New York Yankees relief pitcher Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad, left, is evaluated by a trainer, right, after being hit by a pitch from New York Yankees reliever Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad, left, is evaluated by a trainer, right, after being hit by a pitch from New York Yankees reliever Clay Holmes during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Cade Povich delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Cade Povich delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

New York Yankees' Gleyber Torres (25) is caught stealing second base by Baltimore Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson, left, during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

New York Yankees' Gleyber Torres (25) is caught stealing second base by Baltimore Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson, left, during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad, right, collides with New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe while stealing second base during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Baltimore Orioles' Heston Kjerstad, right, collides with New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe while stealing second base during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrates hitting a home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrates hitting a home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

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