The US Open. Golf’s toughest test. Just don’t mention the rough…
Dan Murphy, Alex Perry, Steve Carroll and James Broadhurst round up the best of the second day at Erin Hills…
So what happened?
Another day of under-par scoring means there are four players sharing the lead at the halfway stage.
While first-round leader Rickie Fowler stumbled to a one-over 73 to fall back to six under for the tournament, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman were swapping places with him.
Casey ending the day as co-leader is particularly impressive when you look at his scorecard. The Englishman, starting on 10, dropped five shots in four holes from the 12th, including a triple-bogey eight at 14. He then carded five birdies on the bounce from 17 – remember the US Open record for consecutive birdies is six.
At the other end, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day are going home – the first time since the Official World Golf Rankings began in 1986 that all of the world’s top three have missed the cut at a major.
Hideki Matsuyama missed a birdie putt at 18 for a 64, but his 65 puts him right back in contention,
The leaderboard may not be vintage at this stage, but it’s set up for an interesting weekend.
Feel-good moment of the day
You have to admire a man who recovers from a dreaded snowman (that’s an 8 on your card) followed by a bogey and then follows up with five straight birdies to get them all back. Plus another one, just so that he could have a positive. The next task for Paul Casey is to add another PGA Tour win, which is more overdue than all of my library books put together.
Spare a thought for…
Name last month’s Players Championship winner. Admit it, you’ve forgotten already. Now Si-Woo Kim is on the first page of the US Open leaderboard at the halfway stage and he’s still being patronised to within an inch of his life. But those whose first thought is that the Korean will evaporate from contention by the halfway stage tomorrow should think again. Kim is a serious challenger for this championship. And he is right in position at 5 under.
Best shot of the day
Rickie Fowler’s bunker shot on the 16th was sublime. Having made three bogeys in his last six holes, he was in big trouble when he found sand on the par-3 16th. With tall grass interfering with his backswing, the smart money was on a duff. No – he bled it out to a mere 18 inches and saved his par three.
Worst shot of the day
A shot that did not actually take place. I’m talking about Danny Willett’s second round. The 2016 Masters champion withdrew overnight after his opening 81, and admitted on Twitter that it was a mix of a bad back and, well, bad swings. Get well soon, Danny.
Stats of the day
It has to be the 42 players who have reached the halfway stage under par. The theme on Sky was that the course was playing much harder than on the first day. Sadly for the, this was not an opinion backed up by evidence. The course was still giving away hundreds of birdies, and with the wind subsiding as the day went on, the late starters continued to prosper.
And on Rory…
Rory has 3 missed cuts in 6 US Open starts since his win in 2011. He's a combined +43 and has more Rds of 77/worse (3) than Rds in 60s (2).
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) June 16, 2017
Photo of the day
You wouldn’t have thought that Brooks Koepka could have threatened the green on the 10th from this bunker. Wrong – he flew it.
Yes, it’s understated, but this was a nice look from Jordan Spieth and UA. And it matched, which always helps.
Got dressed in the dark
Hideki Matsuyama. Apart from no room containing this shirt could ever really be dark. I think it’s the faintest of pinstripes that really finishes it off.
Quote of the day
“I’ve never seen a left-hander with a bad putting stroke.” – Darren Clarke. Hmmm. That’s so lazy a generalisation it’s not worth dwelling further on.
With as many as a dozen players within two shots of the lead, we’ve got a wild betting heat as the US Open goes into the weekend.
Paul Casey, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka are all fighting for favouritism but there a couple of names further down the list you may consider for some each-way action.
Si Woo Kim has had a very successful first couple of days, sitting at five under. But the Players champion is being treated disrespectfully by oddsmakers. I just can’t believe you can still grab him at 25/1.
Similarly, I’ve seen JB Holmes at 16s. While the bomber doesn’t have any past US Open form to draw on, remember, this isn’t a typical US Open course. He finished third at Royal Troon last year and seems to have quickly got to grips with the Erin Hills test.