Rory McIlroy battles to stay in mix as Patrick Reed leads US Open

Winged Foot bit back with a vengeance on Friday as the world’s best struggled in second round

Patrick Reed hits his tee shot on the sixth hole during the second round of the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. Photo: Justin Lane/EPA

Patrick Reed hits his tee shot on the sixth hole during the second round of the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. Photo: Justin Lane/EPA

 

Patrick Reed carries the moniker of “Captain America” almost as if he were the anti-hero. He was up to his antics again in the second round of the 120th US Open; where, even without spectators, the Texan strode around famed Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York with a sense of devilment, making some fabulous up-and-downs from rough to claim the outright lead at the midway stage.

On a day where a cool northerly wind caused the West Course to show some teeth after the benign nature of the opening round, Reed’s 70 for a four-under-par halfway total of 136 gave him a one stroke lead over Bryson DeChambeau as only six players reached the midpoint under par.

Among the big name casualties who failed to make it into the weekend were Collin Morikawa, just a month on from his breakthrough Major win in the US PGA, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth, who again looked but a pale shadow of his self.

For Rory McIlroy, there was a danger for much of his second round front nine that he too would be sucked down a slippery slope. After an opening round 67 to jump into contention in his bid for a fifth career Major, and first since the 2014 US PGA, the 31-year-old Northern Irishman – who suffered a double-bogey and four bogeys in a nightmare run in six holes of his front nine – finally signed for a 76 for 143, seven strokes adrift of Reed.

Rory McIlroy reacts after playing an approach shot on the fifth during the second round of the 120th US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy reacts after playing an approach shot on the fifth during the second round of the 120th US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

And for Shane Lowry, too, there was a stubborn reaction to his opening round 76 as he responded with a 70 for 146, six-over-par, that ensured he would hang around for the weekend: the British Open champion’s resolve was showcased by birdies on two of his finishing three holes.

“I tripped myself up (in the first round). When I start playing bad, I start trying too hard and getting pretty annoyed. And I struggle. But, look, you can’t really do anything about what happened (on Thursday). You just need to move on and hopefully get a shot at the weekend and I can chip away at these numbers,” said Lowry.

As if to underscore the contrast between the first and the second rounds, with the shift in wind direction and some trickier pin placements causing players to second guess on club selections and rub their heads in wonder (and anguish) as balls sped through greens into thick greenside rough, Justin Thomas – the first round leader – followed a 65 with a 73, for 138. Yet, it was to his credit that, having turned in three-over 38 on his front nine and added a double-bogey six on the first, this 10th, the American dug deep to claim birdies on the third and seventh holes with no further dropped shots to keep his quest alive.

As others suffered, Reed seemed to revel in it all, stubbornly refusing to buckle even when shots went awry. In a round of five birdies and five bogeys, the most impressive aspect was an ability to bounce back from a bogey with a birdie, something he did on three occasions.

“Any time you play in a US Open you know that you’re going to have one of those days that things aren’t quite going to go your way, and I felt like that today was the day. I felt like I left a decent amount of shots out there, felt like I was a little loose with some shots off the tee and also irons. And to be able to feel like that and come out and shoot even par round, it’s definitely a positive and makes you feel good going into the weekend,” said Reed, whose only career Major win came in the 2018 US Masters.

DeChambeau’s show of strength set him apart, as a best of the day 68 moved him up second with Thomas, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Harris English a shot further back in tied-third.

And while most of the aura DeChambeau has created this year has been about his bulk and big hitting, it was another part of his game which he identified as the reason for his scoring: “My iron play is great. I feel like I can play from anywhere. I know my driver is going to be going far; sometimes straight, sometimes a little crooked. But I can hit my irons really well, then I feel like I’ll be good.”

He added: “I feel like my irons are great. The wedges are better, and the short game needs to be worked on just a little bit. But I would say it’s been good so far, and that’s what I am going to hopefully do this weekend.” Indeed, DeChambeau had spent a considerable amount of time on the range, into the darkness, on Thursday working on his wedge play.

In many ways, DeChambeau reserved the best until last. One of those trademark monster drives on the ninth left him with only a wedge in hand for an approach from 178 yards which he hit to eight-feet and rolled in the eagle putt.

In Tiger Woods’s case, there was a degree of frustration. “It feels like the way the golf course is changing, is turning, that anybody who makes the cut has the opportunity to win this championship.” Sadly, for him, it will be a case of watching on from afar.

Second round scores and totals (USA unless stated, par 70, (a) denotes amateurs)

136 Patrick Reed 66 70

137 Bryson DeChambeau 69 68

138 Justin Thomas 65 73, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 68 70, Harris English 68 70

139 Jason Kokrak 68 71

140 Matthew Wolff 66 74, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 71 69, Xander Schauffele 68 72, Brendon Todd 68 72, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 66 74

141 Stephan Jaeger (Ger) 71 70, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 68 73, Jon Rahm (Spa) 69 72, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 67 74, Bubba Watson 72 69

142 Tony Finau 69 73, Lucas Glover 71 71, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 71 71, Billy Horschel 72 70, Webb Simpson 71 71

143 Dustin Johnson 73 70, Daniel Berger 73 70, Rory McIlroy (Irl) 67 76, Thomas Detry (Bel) 71 72, Lee Westwood (Eng) 67 76, Renato Paratore (Ita) 71 72

144 Cameron Smith (Aus) 71 73, Zach Johnson 70 74, Will Zalatoris 70 74, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 70 74, Tyler Duncan 73 71

145 Matt Wallace (Eng) 70 75, Adam Hadwin (Can) 72 73, Charles Howell III 73 72, Danny Lee (Nzl) 70 75, Shugo Imahira (Jpn) 71 74, Taylor Pendrith (Can) 71 74, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 71 74, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 73 72, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 69 76, Adam Scott (Aus) 71 74, Lanto Griffin 71 74, Romain Langasque (Fra) 71 74, John Pak 69 76, Michael Thompson 70 75, Adam Long 71 74, Sungjae Im (Kor) 70 75

146 Jason Day (Aus) 72 74, Alex Noren (Swe) 72 74, Patrick Cantlay 70 76, Brian Harman 74 72, Chesson Hadley 73 73, Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn) 72 74, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 71 75, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 72 74, Shane Lowry (Ire) 76 70, Robert Macintyre (Sco) 74 72, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 70 76, Paul Casey (Eng) 76 70, Troy Merritt 72 74, Rickie Fowler 69 77

The following players did not make the cut:

147 Kurt Kitayama 70 77, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 71 76, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 71 76, Takumi Kanaya (a) (Jpn) 72 75, Joel Dahmen 73 74, Chan Kim 71 76, Collin Morikawa 76 71, Davis Thompson 69 78, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 74 73, Corey Conners (Can) 71 76

148 Keegan Bradley 75 73, Andy Sullivan (Eng) 71 77, Paul Barjon (Fra) 77 71, Ryan Palmer 73 75, Shaun Norris (Rsa) 69 79, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 74 74, Gary Woodland 74 74, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 72 76, (a) Andy Ogletree 71 77, Kevin Streelman 73 75

149 John Augenstein 74 75, Preston Summerhays 72 77, Paul Waring (Eng) 72 77, Sandy Scott (Sco) 75 74, Matt Kuchar 74 75, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 72 77

150 (a) Chun An Yu (Tpe) 70 80, Tiger Woods 73 77, Brandon Wu 74 76, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 73 77, Matt Jones (Aus) 76 74, Danny Willett (Eng) 77 73, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 73 77, Justin Rose (Eng) 73 77, Victor Perez (Fra) 76 74, Connor Syme (Sco) 75 75, Jimmy Walker 72 78, Jim Herman 73 77, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 71 79, Daniel Balin 73 77

151 Steve Stricker 74 77, Tom Lewis (Eng) 74 77, Cameron Champ 73 78, Chez Reavie 75 76, (a) Cole Hammer 77 74, Marc Leishman (Aus) 73 78, Curtis Luck (Aus) 75 76, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 74 77

152 JC Ritchie (Rsa) 74 78, Richy Werenski 73 79, Kevin Na 75 77, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 74 78, Ian Poulter (Eng) 75 77, Ricky Castillo 73 79, Kevin Kisner 76 76, Brandt Snedeker 75 77

153 JT Poston 71 82, Phil Mickelson 79 74, Dan McCarthy 76 77, Justin Harding (Rsa) 77 76, Lee Hodges 76 77

154 Mark Hubbard 76 78, Branden Grace (Rsa) 75 79, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 77 77, Davis Riley 79 75, Max Homa 78 76, Eddie Pepperell (Eng) 78 76, Sami Valimaki (Fin) 78 76, Rasmus Hojgaard (Den) 77 77, Jordan Spieth 73 81

155 Ryan Vermeer 78 77, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 74 81

156 Graeme McDowell (Irl) 76 80

157 Marty Jertson 76 81, Lukas Michel (Aus) 80 77, (a) James Sugrue (Ire) 78 79

158 Scott Hend (Aus) 74 84

159 Ryan Fox (Nzl) 74 85

160 Greyson Sigg 75 85, Sung Kang (Kor) 74 86

161 Eduard Rousaud (Spa) 76 85

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