Pro sinks nearly 50 spots at U.S. Open after ‘one of worst breaks you’re going to see’

Sepp Straka

Sepp Straka hits his second shot on Friday on the 3rd hole at Pinehurst.

PINEHURST, N.C. — Sepp Straka’s approach shot looked true. 

We’ll try to keep this positive. 

What followed next wasn’t, though. Straka sank a whopping 48 U.S. Open leaderboard spots during Friday’s second round, shortly after what a TV analyst called “one of the worst breaks you’re going to see.” He’d been in line for at least a par on Pinehurst’s 382-yard, par-4 3rd, only to leave with a triple-bogey 7. 

Things had even started well for Straka. On the tee, he was even par. He was 16th, five shots out of the lead. He was in the fairway after his tee shot. Just 139 out. 

His ball went 139. 

But it probably needed to go about 139 and a few inches more. Or 138 yards. Or a hair to the left. Or a touch to the right. Whatever. 

Straka’s ball smacked the bottom of the flagstick

It violently ricocheted backward, finding a right greenside bunker. 

“Oh no. I mean, how many times do we see that?” analyst Curt Byrum said on the Peacock Network broadcast. “It’s usually a bad break when these guys fly it into the flagstick, and that is definitely a bad break.”

Five more strokes followed. 

From the bunker, Straka thinned one, and it rolled toward the bunker on the left, finishing in some thicker grass. “My goodness,” Byrum said. “This is going to roll off the back of the green. … Hang on. Oh my goodness. Disaster.” On his fourth stroke, Straka came up short of the green. On his fifth, his ball finished just to the right of the green. 

On shot six, Straka was on the putting surface. He had 10 feet left for the triple, which he made. He headed to the 4th hole at three over and in 64th place.  

But the putt was good. Then six holes later, redemption! Straka aced the 194-yard, par-3 9th. A one after a seven.

A positive ending, too. 

“Man, good for you to make that putt,” Byrum said on the broadcast, “but, man, I’ll tell you what, that’s one of the worst breaks you’re going to see. 

“Now he made a bad bunker swing there, but, gosh, that was a terrible break.” 

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at

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