OAKMONT, Pa. – It was hard not to think of the scene in the Adam Sandler classic "Happy Gilmore" – when announcer Verne Lundquist turns to his broadcast partner and asks "Who the hell is Happy Gilmore? – when watching Gregory Bourdy shoot up the U.S. Open leader board Saturday.
Bourdy, a 34-year-old from France, had reporters scrambling for their media guides after briefly reaching 5-under during his second round.
He did so with a scintillating three-hole stretch on the back nine, beginning with a 137-yard hole out for eagle on the par-4 11th hole. He backed that up with consecutive birdies on the 13th and 14th holes to take solo possession of the lead.
"I feel very good in my game the last few weeks," Bourdy said. "I really love the difficulty of this course. ... At then end, it was a very good day on a very difficult course like this."
Oakmont fought back from Bourdy's assault, taking back a stroke on the par-3 16th hole, then two more when he made a double bogey on the par-3 18th.
Bourdy's second shot was short of the green, and he flubbed his third.
"Golf courses like this, you have to play perfectly and sometimes play some not as risky as you want," he said. "You need to hit it perfectly, and I missed it."
Bourdy is chasing some serious history. Arnaud Massy's victory in the 1907 British Open remains the only time French player has won a major.
"It's possible," he said of his chances of winning. "I know it's possible, so that's the main thing."
Bourdy got into this week's field by earning medalist honors after shooting rounds of 67 and 68 during the sectional qualifier at Walton Heath Golf Club in England. He's playing in his second career major, missing the cut in the 2012 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club. He does have four career wins on the European Tour, but the last was back in 2013.
"It's one of the biggest tournaments in the world with the biggest field," he said. "It's good to be at the top, and I'll do my best to be at the top on Sunday."