Séamus Power took another giant leap in his Major career when he chiselled out a hugely impressive 70 to snatch a share of the early clubhouse lead with a round to play in the US Open at Brookline.
he West Waterford man was playing with reigning US PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and looked the more poised of the two on a tough day at The Country Club where he stiff northerly wind sent scores soaring.
The Tooraneena man might have been four-over after four holes but he got up and down for par at the first after failing to see the fairway, then made a 10-footer for bogey at the 217-yard second.
Buried in the right rough, his attempted parachute shot came up short in more deep rough. But he made a 10-footer for bogey there, then got up and down again for par at the third, holing from eight foot.
He was in deep rough off the tee at the fourth but conjured a birdie chance, then parred the next four holes before making eagle at the 560-yard eighth, battering a 339-yard drive into a left to right wind before knocking his 217-yard second to around seven feet.
That catapulted him to tied 20th on level par as he turned in one-under par to Thomas’ two-over 37.
He would drop a shot at the difficult 10th, where he missed the green right and failed to convert from five foot for par. But he was back in the red immediately, knocking in a left-to-right breaking 14-footer for a two at the 141-yard par-three.
He was short with a 15-foot chance at the 12th but after ranking fourth for strokes gained putting for the first two rounds, he hit another bomb at the 13th and rolled in from 16 foot to get to within four of the lead, tied 13th on one-under.
The West Waterford man dropped a shot at the par-five 14th, three-putting from 33 feet.
But he dug deep and made pars at the 15th and 16th only to three-putt the 17th, made famous by Justin Leonard’s Ryder Cup putt in 1999, to slip back to level for the day.
He had to made a 12-footer for par at the last but at one-over par, he was joint 17th and tied for the clubhouse lead with Denny McCarthy and former US Open champion Gary Woodland, who signed for two-under 68s.
They were a shot clear of Colombia’s Sebastián Muñoz (69), Australia’s Min Woo Lee (69) and Dustin Johnson (71) with Thomas a shot further back after a 72.
Power was five shots behind clubhouse leader Will Zalatoris, who carded a brilliant, three-under 67 to lead on four-under.
“Overall I am pleased,” Power said. “It was a funny day. I really struggled at the start. I was hitting it all over the place and then played very nicely in the middle but it was just tough.
“I feel like the greens changed speed once you got to the higher part of the course on like the 14th and I three-putted 17 from about 35 feet so I was disappointed with that. But I made a nice up and down on 18 after just missing the green right so overall I am pretty pleased.
“It’s tough out there today. There is no way around it you’ve got a hit good shots and you’ve got to judge the conditions right. It’s one of those courses that requires you to be quite accurate and obviously when it’s blowing, okay it’s only 15 miles an hour, but it’s tough to do that.
“It was a nice battle and I hung in there pretty well. I was hoping for a slightly better finish but I’m still in decent shape going into tomorrow.”
Power grew up playing in tough conditions and admitted he relishes the challenge and feels comfortable in Majors despite having just 11 rounds under his belt.
“On a day like today course management is rewarded,” he said. “You’re going to be out of position at times and making the smart decision from those spots is important just because some guys might continue to swing at it and get aggressive.
“But you really can’t afford to do that out there today. You just have to pick your spots and that’s what I did today.”