BROOKLINE, Mass. — M.J. Daffue of South Africa, ranked 296th on this planet, was not invited to the hospitality tent alongside the par-5 14th gap in the course of the second spherical of the U.S. Open on Friday. However when his tee shot got here to relaxation on the tent’s carpeted balcony subsequent to a tree trunk, fence railing and overhanging, leaf-filled branches, Daffue was welcomed to the social gathering.
Eschewing the protection of a free drop on close by grass, Daffue, who was main the U.S. Open on the time, determined to make use of a 4-wood to smack his ball across the tree trunk, over the railing and below the branches to the 14th inexperienced 278 yards away.
Nick Faldo, an NBC analyst, yelped: “What is he thinking?”
As followers held drinks tinkling with ice close by, Daffue implausibly curved his shot away from all of the hazard and watched as his golf ball settled ft off the 14th inexperienced to arrange an opportunity at an eagle that will prolong his unbelievable lead.
“Made bogey instead, unfortunately,” mentioned Daffue, who by no means once more held the second-round lead. “It was kind of a crazy day out there.”
Daffue may have been talking for all the subject. Whereas the primary spherical of the 122nd U.S. Open on Thursday featured the theater of a first-ever face-off between PGA Tour loyalists and insurgent golfers who’ve defected to the Saudi-financed LIV Golf Invitational sequence, on Friday that drama had receded on the Nation Membership outdoors Boston.
It was changed by one thing extra typical for a U.S. Open: a topsy-turvy day in vexing golf-course circumstances that had a cavalcade of famed and nameless gamers jockeying up and down the leaderboard.
An hour earlier than the solar set, Joel Dahmen, who has missed the minimize in 4 of the 9 main tournaments he has entered and is ranked a hundred and thirtieth, was tied for the lead on the midway mark with Collin Morikawa, who at 25 is on the vanguard of the youth motion overtaking skilled golf.
Morikawa shot a four-under-par 66 on Friday to maneuver to 5 below par for the match. Dahmen, a preferred, convivial presence on the tour recognized for the bucket hat that not often comes off his head on the golf course, matched Morikawa with a gentle spherical of 68 after taking pictures 67 within the first spherical. Dahmen, 34, has by no means completed greater than tied for tenth at a serious championship and has by no means held the 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour occasion. He didn’t qualify for the occasion till June 6 and virtually skipped it to focus on the remainder of the PGA Tour season.
Late Friday, Dahmen was nonetheless not awed by his standing after two rounds.
“This is really cool, but it’s really all for naught if you go lay an egg on the weekend,” he mentioned. “This is fun, but it would be really fun if I was doing this again Saturday and Sunday.”
An eclectic fivesome of golfers had been one stroke behind the co-leaders: Jon Rahm, who’s ranked second worldwide; Rory McIlroy, who survived a scare on the third gap when he wanted three swings to get his ball out of thick greenside fescue however nonetheless shot 69; Hayden Buckley, a PGA Tour rookie; Beau Hossler, 27, who performed his first U.S. Open as an adolescent; and Aaron Smart, who has one profession PGA Tour victory.
Morikawa famous that there have been greater than 20 gamers inside 5 strokes of the lead.
“No one has kind of run away with it,” he mentioned. “But I guess that’s to be expected on a challenging golf course at the U.S. Open. But right now, my game feels really good and the last few days is a huge confidence booster for me heading into this weekend. Hopefully, we can kind of make some separation somehow.”
The unpredictability of day was personified by Buckley, 26, who didn’t play aggressive golf till he was a junior in highschool and walked on to the golf workforce when he attended the College of Missouri.
“It’s all happened kind of fast to be sure,” Buckley, who had a victory on the minor league Korn Ferry Tour earlier than incomes his PGA Tour card late final yr, mentioned. “But I felt pretty relaxed and confident today.”
Buckley faltered in the midst of his second spherical when he had three bogeys in 5 holes. However Buckley rallied to shoot 4 below in his last seven holes.
There was some normalcy to the second spherical. Scottie Scheffler, who sits atop the lads’s world rankings, shot a three-under-par 67 to vault into competition. Scheffler, who received this yr’s Masters Event and three different 2022 PGA Tour occasions, jump-started his spherical by pitching in for an eagle on the 14th gap. He didn’t do it from the hospitality tent balcony the place Daffue discovered his golf ball, however his tee shot bounded into the thick tough 40 yards proper of the outlet.
Then, in a scene that match the day’s unusual nature, Scheffler needed to wait almost a minute whereas a turkey sauntered throughout the 14th inexperienced. Smiling, Scheffler, who shot even par 70 on Thursday, reset his focus and knocked the ball within the gap. With a birdie on the sixteenth gap and two closing pars, Scheffler completed at three-under par for the match.
Collin Morikawa, the seventh-ranked participant worldwide, started his spherical at one-under par however shortly stormed up the leaderboard with birdies on the twelfth, 14th and seventeenth holes. (He began his spherical on the tenth gap.) Morikawa, winner of the 2020 P.G.A. Championship, first took the second-round lead with a fourth birdie on the primary gap earlier than registering his first bogey on the fourth gap. However he closed with a flourish, a birdie on the par-5 eighth gap to complete with four-under-par 66.
Morikawa has 4 top-10 finishes this yr, together with fifth on the Masters.
Jon Rahm, the U.S. Open defending champion, started his spherical at one below par like Morikawa and teed off on the tenth gap. He eagled the quick par-5 14th and deftly putted because the solar emerged on Friday afternoon and subtly dried out the quick, undulating greens. Rahm had three birdies and two bogeys.
Matthew Fitzpatrick of England, who received the 2013 U.S. Beginner on the Nation Membership when he was 18, was among the many first-round leaders when he shot 68 on Thursday. He continued his constant, measured play with a 70 on Friday.
Two acquainted names additionally climbed onto the primary web page of the leaderboard Friday: Sam Burns, 25, who has received twice since March and completed second in one other occasion, shot a 67 to maneuver to two-under for the championship, and Brooks Koepka, the final man to win back-to-back U.S. Opens, shot 67 after an unsteady 73 within the first spherical. Koepka was lately married, and he conceded the marriage restricted the quantity of observe time he may commit to his golf sport. However he mentioned he has regained his confidence with extra work out of competitors.
Phil Mickelson improved on his erratic 78 from Thursday’s first spherical to shoot a three-over-par 73 within the second spherical, however his placing continued to be the worst a part of his sport and he didn’t make the minimize.
Mickelson, normally garrulous, didn’t discuss after his spherical on Thursday and stored issues transient on Friday. Of his comeback after 5 months away from competitors, Mickelson mentioned: “I missed competing, but I also enjoyed some time away.”
Different outstanding gamers to overlook the minimize included Kevin Na and Louis Oosthuizen, who’ve joined Mickelson on the LIV Golf tour, and Billy Horschel, who received the Memorial Event earlier within the month. Additionally not eligible for the ultimate weekend rounds might be Viktor Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood.
Daffue, who completed at one below par for the match, was greater than content material to have extra golf to play.
“I’ve had goose bumps thinking about it,” he mentioned. “I had an up-and-down day today, but to me, it’s nothing but good. I’m still going to play tomorrow in the U.S. Open.”
Learn the total article here