By Andrew Both
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Reuters) - The intriguing prospect of feuding Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau playing together in the third round at the U.S. Open has been narrowly avoided, even though they were locked on the same score after the second round on Friday.
Pairings for the third round were done automatically, and several players finished on the same even-par 142 halfway total between when DeChambeau got done early and Koepka came in late at Torrey Pines.
Therefore, though they equal 13th, the American heavyweights will tee off 33 minutes apart on Saturday -- Koepka with Canadian Adam Hadwin at 11.56 am local time (1856 GMT), followed later by DeChambeau with South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
There will two pairings in-between.
It might prove a blessing for both to avoid what would have been a most vociferous gallery to say the least, judging by the number of boorish loudmouths only too happy to scream out while following some of the bigger names on Friday.
The feud between Koepka and DeChambeau started after a Golf Channel tape that never went to air was leaked showing Koepka rolling his eyes and making some disparaging remarks as DeChambeau walked in view of the camera after last month's PGA Championship.
After struggling to find the fairway with only five tee shots on Friday, Koepka had more to worry about than DeChambeau, namely to figure out why he had been so wayward.
It is more difficult to impart spin on the ball from the rough and stop it quickly on the greens, and Koepka said it had been difficult therefore to get his approach shots close to the pins from the long grass.
"It's a U.S. Open golf course. If you're not going to hit
the fairway, you're going to struggle," said the four-time major champion.
"But I hung in there and wasn't too bad, I guess.
"I love the way I'm putting."
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)