Brad Faxon has advanced to the weekend in his first appearance in the U.S. Senior Open.
Surprisingly, this was no small feat for the nine-time PGA Tour winner.
"I think it’s the first cut I’ve made in three years. I’m serious," Faxon said with a grin Friday afternoon in the lockerroom at Indianwood Golf & Country Club. "You should look it up. This is the first time I’ve played the weekend making a cut in quite a while."
With rounds of 69-71, Faxon stands at even-par 140, well within the cutline that fell at 4-over-par 144. Faxon, 50, of Barrington, R.I., made his first cut since he tied for 52nd on the PGA Tour in the 2010 Turning Stone Resort Championship. His efforts on Indianwood’s Old Course ended a string of 19 missed cuts in events on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour that had a 36-hole cut.
"I like the way I’m playing. I’m doing OK," said Faxon, who already has a win on the Champions Tour, the 2011 Insperity Championship, a 54-hole event with no cut. "This is a really interesting golf course, and I’m getting it around pretty well. I’m pretty excited, really. Just need a few more birdies to drop."
Faxon was among 66 players to advance to the weekend after the cut of low 60 and ties was set.
One of the most notable entrants to qualify for an additional 36 holes is 1999 U.S. Senior Open champion Dave Eichelberger. At 68 years old, the native Texan is the oldest player in the field. His second-round 74 was just good enough to sneak in at 144.
"It does feel pretty good, I have to say," said Eichelberger, who was making his first Champions Tour start of the year. "This golf course, this is one of the better Senior Open events – best one I've ever seen. This one here is just a jewel. I love this one."
Two of the 35 amateurs in the field made the cut, led by Sean Knapp, 50, of Oakmont, Pa., near Pittsburgh. He added a 72 to his opening 70 for a 142 aggregate total. Also moving on, was Doug Hanzel, 55, of Savannah, Ga., who was steady with 71-72-143.
Knapp is tied for 36th place with a group of players that includes 1982 U.S. Open champion Tom Watson.
"It's huge. My goal coming in here was just to make the cut," said Knapp, who made it to the finals of Q-School on the Champions Tour last year. "I've played in 33 USGA events. It's not much out in this environment, but I do have some experience, and I have played some good players over the years. And at the end of the day, I was fairly certain that I could play well."
Reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Randy Lewis, playing on a special exemption, rebounded from an opening 80 with a respectable 73, but came up short at 153. Former Mid-Am champ Tim Jackson, who had finished as low amateur in the championship two of the last three years, missed at 74-147.
Hale Irwin, 67, suffered three straight bogeys on his inward nine Friday and missed the cut by a shot. Irwin, winner of three U.S. Open titles and two U.S. Senior Opens, carded 70-145.
Other former U.S. Senior Open winners falling below the standard were two-time champ Allen Doyle (72-147), Eduardo Romero (74-146) and Graham Marsh (80-153). Scott Simpson, who won the 1987 U.S. Open, also came up short at 71-147.
Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.