SAN FRANCISCO - Blake Adams is in eighth place and only three shots out of the lead at the U.S. Open.
With five birdies in a seven-hole stretch at Olympic Club, Adams climbed as high as a tie for fifth. Not bad for someone making his major championship debut.
But Adams, who finished with even-par 70 and is at 2-over for the tournament, didn’t seem to be fazed by his sudden ascent that earned him some coverage on the national television broadcast.
“My goal was to shoot red numbers (Friday),” said Adams, who lives just outside of Swainsboro, Ga. “I had it right there and let it slip away. I don’t look at leaderboards, to be honest with you.”
Adams opened the tournament with 72, and started Friday’s round with two bogeys in his first six holes. Hanging on to make the cut was his immediate goal.
Then, Adams’ putter started to warm up. He birdied Nos. 7 and 8, then made a nifty par save at the ninth that elicited cheers from the gallery.
He drained a medium-range putt on No. 10 for birdie, then he got lucky at the next hole. His drive settled in the right rough, but he was able to get his approach to just in front of the green. With the pin 30 yards deep into the narrow green, he holed his putt for an unlikely birdie.
“I made some putts from a couple different counties, I think,” said Adams, who estimated the putt at No. 11 was 93 feet.
He followed with a bogey but made birdie at the par-3 13th. Squarely in the top 10 at that point, Adams entered Olympic’s closing stretch of two par-5s and the short 18th looking for more birdies.
Instead, he bogeyed the 16th and 18th and ended with a deflating finish.
“Any time you make bogeys coming in, I don’t care where you’re at, you’re a little bit disappointed,” Adams said. “All in all, not a bad day. I shot par and I’m hanging in there and will keep fighting this weekend.”
As Adams made his way around the golf course Friday, he could hear shouts of encouragement. Unlike some players, he doesn’t have a big entourage following him. His wife, Beth, joined him earlier in the week.
“I have a handful of friends who are out here for business or folks that live out in this area,” Adams said. “It’s nice to have those folks, but a lot of folks I don’t know. That’s really neat to have a guy from a small town in south Georgia do well in this big ol’ city and have folks yelling at you.”