BROOKLINE, Mass. (Reuters) -Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen held a share of the second-round U.S. Open lead on Friday, one shot clear of a pack that included defending champion Jon Rahm and pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlroy.
Morikawa, the only player currently in the top 10 of the world rankings without a PGA Tour win this season, fired a four-under-par 66 that was the day’s low round and left him at five under on the week at The Country Club outside Boston.
Dahmen (68), who considered skipping a recent U.S. Open qualifier so he could concentrate on upcoming PGA Tour events where he figured he would fare better, missed a 10-foot birdie putt at the last that would have given him the solo lead.
World number two Rahm (67) enjoyed another solid day on the greens to move up the leaderboard while a resilient McIlroy (69) overcame a shaky start to share third place along with Hayden Buckley (68), Aaron Wise (68) and Beau Hossler (67).
Lurking a further shot off the pace were a pack of five golfers that featured reigning Masters champion and world number one Scottie Scheffler (67), setting the stage for what cold be a wild weekend at Brookline.
Morikawa began on the back nine and had a glorious chance to build a two-shot lead when his approach at the par-five eighth settled four feet from the cup, but he sent his eagle attempt right past the cup and settled for birdie.
Morikawa now heads into the weekend in the driver’s seat as he looks to win a major title for a third consecutive year, after triumphs at the British Open (2021) and PGA Championship (2020).
Scheffler, who began the day four shots back of overnight leader Adam Hadwin (72), was bolstered by a late eagle at the par-five 14th when, 55 yards away from the hole, he chipped in from the second cut of rough.
“If a few more putts would have fallen in versus around the edge, it would have been a really special day,” said Scheffler.
Six-time U.S. Open runner-up Phil Mickelson, who has become the face of the Saudi-backed LIV series, missed the cut after an 11 over total that was better than only two other competitors from the breakaway circuit.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Brookline, MassachusettsEditing by Christian Radnedge, Pritha Sarkar and Rosalba O’Brien)