'Feels Good To Get A Win Tonight, Guys' - Johnson Wagner Almost Replicates Patrick Cantlay Bunker Hole-Out In US Open Wedge-Play Breakdown

The Golf Channel analyst had previously admitted to suffering with the chipping yips but showed he was dialled in at Pinehurst No.2 after Thursday's opening round

Split screen of Johnson Wagner hitting out of a greenside bunker on no.11 at Pinehurst No.2
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Heading into round two of the 2024 US Open, Patrick Cantlay was co-leader thanks to a magnificent round of 65 on Thursday that put him right alongside Rory McIlroy

Both Ryder Cup rivals managed to avoid any bogeys in their respective rounds, thus becoming the second and third players ever to do so at a Pinehurst-hosted US Open.

And along the way, Cantlay joined a whole host of others who recorded hole-outs from a greenside bunker on day one. Nick Dunlap managed it at 16, Hideki Matsuyama avoided the need for his putter at 12, and Collin Morikawa recovered from sending his ball off the ninth green with a marginally over-hit sand shot by dropping his golf ball into the cup on the 17th.

But in the aftermath of the first day's action, Golf Channel analyst Johnson Wagner opted to head out on to the 11th at Pinehurst No.2 and see if he was able to replicate anything like Cantlay's spectacular effort earlier on. 

The first-round co-leader had short-sided himself with the pin on the front left, but magic hands and a quick whip through the sand sent Cantlay's golf ball skipping onto the green before quickly finding its target for birdie.

A matter of hours later, Golf Channel's highly-popular analyst almost repeated the feat, leaving his only live effort around three feet from the hole next to a pin location that Wagner had only just labelled as "the toughest" players will face on that green all week.

As he hit the shot, Wagner innocently let out a surprised "oh!" before chuckling as his ball checked and came to a halt within gimme range. "That was pretty good. Pretty happy about that," he said.

Going on to illustrate Matt Fitzpatrick's relative struggles on the same hole but in a different spot, Wagner - who had previously admitted to suffering from the chipping yips in a prior analytical piece for Golf Channel - moved over to an area of grass to the left of where Cantlay escaped from and showed more of his prowess with wedge in hand.

Admitting he was "not brave enough to hit a 60-degree off this into-the-grain lie," Wagner swapped out his club and explained that he had received a chipping lesson from Todd Anderson alongside Billy Horschel recently, and he was planning to put those tips into practice.

Just before hitting, Wagner said out loud: "embrace the ground" - going on to dig his wedge into the floor and sending the ball up towards the hole. The shot was excellent despite Wagner initially stating it was "not my best technique", although he did go on to say he was very happy with the result.

Wagner finished his piece-to-camera by saying: "It feels good to get a win tonight, guys" - likely in reference to a couple of occasions this year where his entertaining explanations have not been coupled with the ideal example stroke.

Long after a couple of duffed chips at TPC Sawgrass during The Players Championship in March, Wagner headed down to the 18th at Valhalla to see if he could reproduce the extraordinary second shot Xander Schauffele played in the closing stages of his PGA Championship victory last month.

The eventual champion defied a particularly awkward stance in a bunker to whip his ball to safety and then go on to make a title-clinching birdie on the par-5 18th, helping him beat Bryson DeChambeau by one.

But Wagner - cheered on by a small crowd - was unable to exactly replicate Schauffele's genius and sent his commendable attempt into the right rough, leaving a tough wedge shot into the green. Not that he minded, though. Wagner said: "That wouldn't have been a very good shot, I caught it a little high on the face. But, hey, I'm kinda of beaming right now. I made contact and I've got a little crowd out here."

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. During his time with Golf Monthly, Jonny has interviewed several stars of the game, including Robert MacIntyre, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood. An improving golfer himself, Jonny enjoys learning as much about the game as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Open Championships and dreams of attending The Masters one day.