Chris Crawford sees progress in U.S. Open performance

The flag on the 18th green blows in the wind during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 16, 2017, at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.

The result of his second U.S. Open in as many years was the same for Chris Crawford, but the recent Drexel graduate was happy with what he accomplished last week at Erin Hills.

Crawford, 23, of Bensalem, shot 3-over-par 75 in each of the first two rounds and missed the 36-hole cut by 5 strokes. But his statistics at the brutally long course – 82.1 percent of fairways hit, 75 percent of greens in regulation – left him satisfied with his performance.

"Mentally from a strategy standpoint, I think we did a great job of preparing," Crawford said Sunday in a telephone interview. "I executed our strategy pretty well, especially off the tee, hitting a lot of fairways and greens. I just didn't do enough around the greens.

"If I had made a couple more putts or if I had gotten up and down a few more times . . . I guess I was just a little off around the greens and I need some work there. But from a ball-striking standpoint, I thought I was there. I thought I did enough to probably make the cut. I just didn't get some of that other stuff to go for me."

With Drexel coach Ben Feld as his caddie, Crawford had a promising start to the second round Friday. Starting on the back nine, he birdied the 10th and 12th holes to get to 1-over for the Open, which would be the eventual cut figure. But a three-putt bogey on 13 was a momentum killer, and he later double-bogeyed No. 4 for the second straight day.

"I couldn't get any putts to drop, couldn't get any midrange putts to go in," Crawford said. "I shot even par on the [back nine]. I think that was about as high of a score as I could have possibly shot for those nine holes. Then we made the turn and I knew I had to make a couple of birdies, but I didn't play well enough. But there were a lot of good things that I did, too."

Going into the Open, Crawford wanted to be more competitive and less in awe than he was in the Open a year ago at Oakmont, where he missed the cut after back-to-back rounds of 76. He felt that this year's practice rounds, which included nine holes Monday with Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk, and Steve Stricker, were "very productive."

"I felt good by the time Thursday came around," he said. "It's kind of hard for someone in my situation to compete against guys that are making a living out of [playing golf] every single week. It's hard to adjust to that, but I thought I did a good job. I thought I accomplished a lot of what I tried to get out of it."

Crawford also benefited from the presence of about 15 family members and friends who made the trek to Wisconsin.

Crawford will play pretty much a national schedule this summer, including the North-South Amateur, the Porter Cup, the Western Amateur, and the U.S. Amateur. He also will play in the Golf Association of Philadelphia's Patterson Cup in August.

After the U.S. Amateur, he said he would "most likely" look to turn pro and prepare for the Tour qualifying tournament. Before that, however, he will savor the Open and look to a busy summer.

"Looking back on [the Open], definitely a lot of positives, and we had a lot of fun," he said.