Simpson didn't realize it until much later, but his 74 was actually even par for the day, for the scoring average was 74.2. Still, he looked like a weekend hacker on the 9th hole. Standing in calf-high ragweed and other roughage five yards off the green, he chopped at his ball with a wedge. It moved exactly two feet, to the next cut of rough. Simpson wordlessly bent the club in half over his knee and went on to a double bogey.
The teeth of the course came at the turn, the steep, rolling par-4, 409-yard 10th hole with an elevated green, and the nasty little par-3 11th, which is only 158 yards long but sits atop a windswept knoll and is fronted by severe bunkers. Ozaki's immolation was perhaps the most spectacular, and it began at the 10th. He trailed playing partner Norman, who was in the lead, by a stroke for much of the front nine, but after hacking from rough to rough, he double-bogeyed 10. A second double came at the 16th, in similar fashion. He finished with an 80, which left him eight strokes off the pace.
Crenshaw and Watson, paired together, never recovered from the 10th and 11th. Crenshaw was in the fairway 102 yards from the 10th green, struggling along at two over par but not totally out of contention, when he drew a sand wedge and went for the pin. But a gust of wind knocked his ball short and sucked it back down the hillside in front of the green. Crenshaw then tried a little bump-and-run with his seven-iron, hoping to save par. Later, he wondered if he should have settled for bogey. "I could have just taken my medicine," he said. It was a pretty, delicate little shot, but again his ball barely reached the top of the slope and then did a U-turn to roll back down. He finished with a triple.
Watson was already disheartened by four bogeys on the front, and the 11th ruined him once and for all when he double-bogeyed out of the gaping bunker in front of the green. "It was not good by any standard," Watson said, mired in a fit of self-criticism afterward. "I needed my A game out there. I had my B game. Or my C game."
From that point, Crenshaw and Watson slogged along hopelessly. Watson bogeyed the 13th and 14th. Crenshaw bogeyed the 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th. "We were both deflated," Crenshaw said. "It was just like someone let the air out. It was futility."
So futile, in fact, that Watson began babbling about hot dogs. "What I'd really like is a great-big hot dog," he said to Crenshaw, gazing at the concession stands. Watson then delivered a discourse on the best hot dogs in the world, the premier of which, he stated, could be found in the snack hut on the 5th hole at Westchester. "He just got to talking about hot dogs the rest of the way in," Crenshaw said. "And we were playing like hot dogs."
No one, however, suffered as Kite did. He, too, started the round in contention, at 142. But he had a scarcely believable three 7s and a 6, two double bogeys and two triples. "I did a lot of things out there I don't think I could ever do again," he said. Kite had not shot 82 since 1970, when he was at the University of Texas and playing in his first Open, at Hazeltine. The only other occasion when he shot a snowman in an Open was 1975, when he swallowed an 80 at Medinah.
Kite's woes began on the par-5 5th, the easiest hole on the course. He reached the greenside area in two, but his ball was in the long grass to the left. He skulled his attempt at a chip, and the ball skittered across the green into the opposite thickets. Another wedge sent the ball back in the other direction, and it spun through the green to the left apron. A third attempt finally put him on the green 15 feet beyond the flag, and from there he two-putted for a seven.
Kite tripled the 10th when he drove into the rough, soared long and left of the hole, and tried to flop a wedge at the stick. As with Crenshaw's ball, Kite's ran down the hill in front of the elevated green. He bashed another wedge that shot 20 feet above the hole, left himself a 10-foot putt for double and missed it. The fun wasn't over. At the 14th he took an unplayable lie and another double. "Playing Shinnecock wasn't nearly as hard as I made it look," he said.
Kite was not content with the punishment doled out by Shinnecock. He inflicted a measure of self-punishment as well. He took his second triple at the 18th, from the scorer's tent when he turned himself in for a rules violation. As Kite addressed his last putt of the day, the ball moved slightly. Kite hesitated, and then putted the ball. The rules demand a one-stroke penalty if your ball moves on address. You must mark it and replace it, which Kite didn't do, so he was assessed another stroke penalty. It's a picayune rule, perhaps, but one that every player is aware of. Kite was simply in the dead zone by then.