BROOKLINE, Mass. — You can excuse the Boston sports fans for being a little subdued on Friday morning at The Country Club, site of this year’s U.S. Open. The Celtics lost in the NBA Finals last night to the Golden State Warriors and storms were forecasted to hit the area shortly after lunch.
Thankfully, while sprinkles did fall, the lightning stayed safely away and play at the 122nd U.S. Open was never stopped. And in the afternoon, as the skies brightened and the wind softened, the action heated up. Scottie Scheffler shot an early 67, but stars like Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy climbed the leaderboard, along with Joel Dahmen and Aaron Wise who are now in the mix heading into the weekend.
Here are five things we learned during the second round of the U.S. Open.
1. Ballstriking travels
Collin Morikawa plays his shot from the eighth tee during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament. (Photo: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports)
Take a look at the top of the leaderboard and what you’ll see is a collection of golfers who are elite iron players. Strokes gained approach the green is a stat that best tracks iron play on the PGA Tour and several of the golfers who are in contention at The Country Club rank highly in it this season.
Collin Morikawa, who is tied for first, came to the U.S. Open ranked fourth in strokes gained approach the green, while Joel Dahmen (T-1) is 54th, Jon Rahm is 22nd, Rory McIlroy (T-2) is 20th and Aaron Wise (T-2) is 16th. PGA Tour rookie Hayden Buckley, who has shot 68-68 and is tied for second, is the outlier. He is ranked 137th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained approach the green.
2. Any hole at the U.S. Open can be a card-wrecker
Brian Harman of the United States reacts on the 15th green during the second round of the 122nd U.S. Open Championship at The Country Club on June 17, 2022 in Brookline, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
The 12th hole at The Country Club is a 476-yard par 4 and it played to a stroke average of exactly 4.00 on Friday and was the sixth easiest on the course, but McIlroy made a double bogey on it. Sam Burns, who finished the day T-12, made a double bogey on the 10th hole, as did Nick Hardy (T-7). Brian Harman, who shot 68-69 and it T-7 heading into the weekend made double bogey on 13 Friday.
With 36 holes still to be played, no player in contention is safe and anyone can get punished on any hole for an errant shot at The Country Club.
3. Rory can be patient
Rory McIlroy reacts to his putt on the 12th green during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament. (Photo: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports)
Speaking of McIlroy, after having trouble in the rough on the third hole and making a double bogey to drop from 3 under to 1 under early in his round, he methodically and patiently worked his way back into contention. At 33, and now a father, McIlroy’s emotions can still get the best of him at times, but he also realizes that in major championships, plodding along and making pars is fine. Still, his talent can only be contained for so long and he made five birdies and just two bogeys on his final 15 holes. He will start just one shot off the lead Saturday and in great shape to win his second U.S. Open
4. Scottie Scheffler could win his second major
Scottie Scheffler plays his shot from the eighth tee during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament. (Photo: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)
Scheffler won the Masters back in April, and after a Friday 67, he will start the day on Saturday tied for seventh and just two shots off the lead. McIlroy, Morikawa and Rahm have been creating more buzz, but Scheffler has been excellent off the tee and from the fairway this week. His putter, however, has been cold. If he can get that club going, he will be a threat to win his second major of the season.
5. Saturday will be a very different day
Collin Morikawa putts on the 18th green during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament. (Photo: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)
The wind on Thursday and Friday has been blowing from the south and southwest, but the forecast for Saturday and Sunday is for it to shift to the north. Temperatures that reached the mid-80s will stay in the 60s over the weekend too, so the holes will play differently. The par 5 eighth and 14th will both play downwind, but the 18th will play into the wind, making it tougher.