Rafa Cabrera Bello was proud of his battling performance as he produced a blistering finish to drag himself to a level par 70 on day two of the 2020 U.S. Open Championship.
The Spaniard had fired an opening 68 on an uncharacteristically low scoring first day but with tougher pin positions and an increased breeze, Winged Foot Golf Club was baring its teeth in round two.
Cabrera Bello made two early birdies but five bogeys were to follow as the field was made to fight on the notoriously tough New York layout.
The three time European Tour winner is made of stern stuff, however, and after having holed long putts on the tenth and 13th for his early gains, he holed from 20 feet on the sixth, hit an excellent tee shot into the par three next and made the most of the ninth to get back to two under for the week.
"I tend to be a grinder... I never give up. I keep fighting," he said. "I have played some great rounds in the U.S. Open, at Pebble Beach, at Shinnecock as well, so I've been not quite able to finish as high up as I would have liked to but, I mean, it is different.
"Definitely it's a Major that tests your patience beyond limits, and your mental strength as well, to accept the fact that you're going to hit some great shots and going to end up making bogeys. You just have to accept that sometimes two or three bogeys in a row is not as bad as it looks.
"I'm managing well this week. I played really good golf yesterday, I putted beautifully today, so I'm very happy with my performance so far.
"The wind has picked up significantly, that has made it really hard. This course, if you don't find the fairways you're playing, I don't know, like the most difference that you can ever play. With the wind picking up, it definitely makes the fairways relatively smaller.
"I also felt the greens have got maybe a smidge quicker and a bit firmer, but I also felt like some of the pins were a little bit tougher, harder to access today. Obviously more of what a U.S. Open set-up that you would expect.
"I'm sure the weekend is going to be very challenging."