Many men more famous than Aaron Watkins tumbled down the leader board at the 2012 U.S. Open on Saturday and Sunday. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, to name just two, crashed and burnt in spectacular fashion. Woods shot 75 and 73, +8 over the two days, to slide all the way to a tie for 21st place at +7 for the tournament. Mickelson was even worse, carding a 71 and 78 for the two days, his free fall finally landing him in a tie for 65th place at +16 overall.
Watkins, however, was a model of consistency over the four rounds of the U.S. Open. After shooting 72-71 on Thursday and Friday, to surprisingly make the cut, he followed that up with an identical 72-71 over his Saturday and Sunday rounds, leaving him at +6 overall, good for a 15th place finish.
Consistency, long a bugaboo of Watkins’ game, finally found him at the exact right moment.
While the 29-year-old K-State alum never found that one sub-70 score that it would have taken to vault him into true contention for the title, perhaps what actually happened was even better. Watkins now knows that not only can he compete with the best golfers in the world, but he can be solidly consistent over four rounds of golf, at a tournament that humbled more talented golfers. If he can find consistency, we may well see Watkins become a fixture on the PGA tour.
But those are concerns and issues for another day. This day is a day to celebrate a K-Stater who tamed a tough course over the last four days. In doing so, Watkins earned himself a measure of respect in the golfing world, and the admiration of K-State fans everywhere.