PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — Masters champion Bubba Watson avoided major mistakes, putted well and seemed more comfortable in his second run through Pinehurst No. 2 at the U.S. Open.
Too bad it came a day late.
Watson shot an even-par 70 on Friday, not enough following an opening 76 that ultimately cost him a shot of playing on the weekend.
"It's easy today," Watson joked. "After you're out of it, it's kind of easy just to go around and play golf."
Watson finished at 6-over 146 to miss the cut by a stroke.
Jason Dufner, Luke Donald, Charl Schwartzel and Hunter Mahan — — done in by a two-shot penalty for playing the wrong ball on his ninth hole — also dropped out after finishing at 6 over. Dufner has missed the cut in two straight majors after winning the PGA Championship.
Watson won his second green jacket in three years in April — his second PGA Tour victory this year — then led late at the Memorial before faltering and finishing third. He arrived at Pinehurst hoping to become the first player since Tiger Woods in 2002 to win the year's first two majors.
But he never gave himself a chance, his stay cut short by Thursday's miserable round of five bogeys and one double-bogey — a performance that had Watson lamenting that the course "is better than me right now."
He got off to a better start Friday on a layout softened by overnight rain with birdies on two of his first three holes. He was more accurate hitting fairways and greens while also making more putts than a day earlier, but three bogeys in four holes just before the turn did him in.
Watson tied for fifth at the U.S. Open in 2007 at Oakmont, but has missed the cut three times since.