ADVERTISEMENT

Collin Morikawa rises to the top of the US Open rankings with 66, four under par; tied with Joel Dahmen after 2 rounds

ADVERTISEMENT

BROOKLINE, Mass. — For every Collin Morikawa and his consecutive years winning a major there is a Joel Dahmen, who just four years ago would have been delighted to play in one.

Jon Rahm is the defending US Open champion, one shot off the lead. He will play the weekend at The Country Club with Hayden Buckley, who studied while playing in Missouri because he thought he would need to find a job after college.

The dozen players separated by two shots before the weekend include the top three players in the world rankings and four of the top seven: Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Morikawa.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I think it’s great for the game of golf that the top-ranked players and the top players are up there, especially in the tournament where really the top player ends up winning,” Rahm said.

It also includes two PGA Tour rookies and two players who have never won on Tour.

Indeed, this US Open has something for everyone. He just doesn’t have Phil Mickelson, who missed the cut by eight shots.

Morikawa was looking for something in his game and found a “baby draw” instead of his traditional fade, and it has worked wonderfully on Brookline. He matched the championship’s lowest score on Friday with a 4-under 66 to share the lead with Dahmen, the cancer survivor and popular everyman in golf.

Rahm did his best to keep up with an eagle and a series of big par putts that felt just as valuable. Rahm had a 67 and was in the five-player group one shot behind. That included McIlroy, coming off a Canadian Open victory, who sped through the back nine with three birdies in his last four holes for a 69.

Not to be overlooked is Scheffler, the No. 1 player in the world, who chipped in from thick rough before the par-5 14th green for an eagle that brought the Texan back into the mix with a 67. He was two shots behind. .

Morikawa, Rahm and Scheffler have combined to win four of the last nine majors. And then there’s McIlroy, who has four majors on his own, but none since 2014.

“It’s the US Open. No one has gone deep into it until now and it’s slipped away,” Morikawa said. “The last couple of days have given me a huge confidence boost heading into this weekend, and hopefully we can part ways in some way.”

The idea of ​​the US Open is to identify the best players. Some of them require some introductions to the major championship contention over the weekend.

Start with Dahmen, who will never be accused of taking himself too seriously, even if he does take his game seriously. He thought about withdrawing from the 36-hole qualifier twice last week, before it started and after the first round.

But he held on, and with a 68 on Friday, he is playing in the final group of a major for the first time. He joined Morikawa at 5-under 135.

“We don’t go out until 3:45 tomorrow. I usually have to be home by 5 for dinner,” Dahmen said. “So this will be different, for sure.”

The group one shot behind includes Buckley, who wasn’t at the US Open until he made a 20-foot birdie putt in a playoff for last place in his standings 11 days ago.

He was fading, like so many others, with three bogeys during a five-hole stretch around the bend when he got back on track. Birdies on the last two holes gave him another 68.

Also at 136 were Aaron Wise, with one PGA Tour win and nothing better than a tie for 17th in his previous nine majors; and Beau Hossler, who showed up over the weekend at the Olympic Club as a teen amateur in 2012 but hasn’t been heard from since in the majors.

They were examples that the open-to-all US Open doesn’t stop with just qualifying for the right to play golf’s toughest test.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

sniloans