Cal alum Collin Morikawa grabs share of lead

Cal alum Collin Morikawa grabs share of lead


BROOKLINE, Mass. — The storms dodged Brookline and the stars began to emerge Friday in the US Open.

Cal alum Collin Morikawa showed signs of emerging from pedestrian play at just the right time, matching the low score of the championship with a 4-under-par 66 for a share of the 36-hole lead with Joel Dahmen and a shot at a third straight year winning a major.

Morikawa had plenty of company at The Country Club, one player in clear view.

Defending champion Jon Rahm played with Morikawa and did his best to keep pace with an eagle and a series of big par putts. Rahm had a 67 and was one shot behind in a group that included Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy, coming of a win at the Canadian Open, was never more entertaining.

He was two holes into his round when an errant approach landed in waist-high fescue. He took a hack. And then another. The third try finally found the green, and he holed a 25-foot putt to salvage a double bogey. McIlroy hit his stride on the back nine with three birds over his last four holes for a 69.

Not to be overlooked was Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, who chipped in from thick rough short of the par-5 14th green for an eagle that brought the Texan back into the mix with a 67. He was two shots behind.

“It’s the US Open”. No one has taken it deep so far and kind of run away,” Morikawa said. “The last few days is a huge confidence booster for me heading into this weekend, and hopefully we can kind of make some separation somehow.”

Morikawa, Rahm and Scheffler have combined to win four of the past nine majors. And then there’s McIlroy, who has four majors by himself, but none since 2014.

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

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

Start with Dahmen, a cancer survivor and everyman who will never be accused of taking himself too seriously, even if he takes 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 stuck it out, and with a 68 on Friday, plays in the final group of a major for the first time. He joined Morikawa at 5-under 135.

The group one shot behind includes Hayden Buckley, who actually studied while at Missouri because he never thought playing golf for a living was going to work out. He wasn’t in the US Open until making a 20-foot birdie putt in a playoff for the last spot in his qualifier 11 days earlier.

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