Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, two shining beacons in an otherwise dismal Ryder Cup showing by the United States at Gleneagles last September, will head into the third round of the US Open as the joint leaders at Chambers Bay.
For all there has been criticism of this venue, and plenty of it, two marquee names are the most prominent.
Spieth’s 67 on day two and a 69 for Reed leaves them tied at five under. They will thereby partner each other on Saturday, just like Perthshire but this time in direct combat. Branden Grace and Dustin Johnson lie a stroke further back in what may now become a mass attempt to tread water; only 16 players in the field are under par. Poor greens and what is expected to be a ferocious course set-up means low scoring over the weekend is highly unlikely at best.
“I actually felt it was a pretty disappointing round,” said Reed. “To have five or six bogeys, I didn’t get up and down once, I was 0% on up-and-downs today. But we’re in a good position and we hopefully can have a good weekend and have a chance to win.
“Anytime I play with Jordan I enjoy it. The main thing for me is to stay focused and focus on what I need to do to play some good golf. And plot my way around this golf course, especially if it gets firmer and faster.”
Rory McIlroy faces a battle to play himself into contention. The world No1 started day two at two over par, a situation he had improved by one when reaching the 17th tee. McIlroy promptly four-putted the penultimate hole for a double bogey and dropped another shot at the last. Back to back rounds of 72 are hardly disastrous at this venue but, at nine shots adrift of the lead, McIlroy will find it difficult to make up ground. He has endured a particularly frustrating time on the greens.
The defending champion Martin Kaymer was amongst the high profile names in the Friday afternoon wave of play to miss the cut, which was only confirmed at plus five after 9pm local time on Friday. When it finally was, an agonising bogey on his final hole by the 19-year-old amateur Nick Hardy meant a batch of high profile players survived for the weekend. Colin Montgomerie, Angel Cabrera, Ian Poulter, Jimmy Walker and Sergio Garcia were amongst that relieved group. So, too, was the Scottish qualifier Jimmy Gunn.
Earlier on Friday, Jason Day’s management team issued an updated statement which confirmed the Australian retains hope of completing the Open. Day caused alarm when he collapsed in the final hole of his second round.
It read: “Jason was diagnosed to have suffered from benign positional vertigo. He was treated locally by Dr Robert Stoecker and Dr Charles Souliere and is resting comfortably. His condition is being monitored closely and he is hopeful he will be able to compete this weekend in the final rounds of the US Open.
“He wants to thank all who treated him at the Franciscan Medical Group and thank all of the fans and friends who have reached out to he and his family.”
This article was written by Ewan Murray at Chambers Bay, for theguardian.com on Saturday 20th June 2015 05.44 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010