Casey Martin was tired but happy. Driving his cart up the 18th fairway, he needed only to avoid disaster to make the cut in his first U.S. Open.
Martin's tee shot was buried in the deep rough, and he hacked out, then chipped on. Two putts later, he had his bogey and a 1-over-par 71 Friday that ensured he would play two more rounds at The Olympic Club.A day after driving into Open history, Martin was riding into weekend play.
"I didn't play well, and still I made the cut in the U.S. Open," Martin said. "It gives me confidence that I know I should be here, that I can compete here."
Urged on by crowds who shouted "Go get 'em Casey," Martin was still a curiosity to many as he maneuvered his green golf cart through towering cypress trees and limped toward greens.
But he showed that he could play a little golf, too, staying under par until the 17th hole despite hitting only five fairways all day. He bogeyed the last two holes but still finished the two rounds at a solid 5-over 145.
"I'd love to be known more as a golfer than a person with a disability," Martin said. "I'm probably never going to lose that label, though."
Martin, after shooting a 74 the first round, started Friday's round with a flourish by chipping out from underneath a tree to within 3 feet for a birdie on No. 1. It was the first of many saves with a short game that was badly needed on a day Martin did not drive the ball well.
Martin made two more birdies against two bogeys to stay one under for the day before a bad 5-iron on the difficult 17th cost him a bogey, followed by a drive in the rough on 18 for a second bogey.
"It's disappointing I finished that way. I thought I could have snatched something I probably didn't deserve out of the round," Martin said.
There were no incidents involving Martin's golf cart as he drove it slowly up fairways because the large crowds at Olympic jammed the cart paths. Martin drove near most greens, then let a USGA official take the cart to the next tee.
The hills at Olympic would have taken their toll on Martin's diseased right leg, but he was not entirely comfortable riding in the cart either.
"It's hard to get a tempo going," Martin said. "And it's always awkward on the first tee when you're driving off alone. I'd much prefer walking."
Martin's cart did come in handy for his playing partners, too. On the second tee, Ed Fryatt had hit his drive when he looked to a USGA official and motioned to him, asking if he could sit in the cart.
"As long as it doesn't move," official Ed Gowan said.