Phil Mickelson played himself back into the tournament on Friday, shooting a 2-under 69 in the second round of the U.S. Open to get to 2-over for the week, one day after shooting a disappointing 75.
“I played really well today,” said Mickelson, who is seven strokes behind co-leaders Richard Bland and Russell Henley. “I hit the ball really well, which made things a lot easier for me. I was able to play with vigour. I probably didn’t take full advantage of all of my opportunities, but I put in a good round of golf. I know I didn’t hit a home run today, but I’m playing well enough to do so this weekend.”
“I know the course is going to get harder,’’ he said. “It was set up beautifully. It’s going to get tougher and tougher pins and trying to be patient and pick my spots. I’m looking forward to the weekend. Feel like I’m playing good enough to make a run at it.’’
Mickelson rounded out his round with a birdie on the 18th hole, nearly sinking a long eagle putt after reaching the par-5 green in two.
After shooting 73 on Friday, McIlroy was 1-over through the first two rounds and remained in contention. However, he is still looking for some momentum, describing his tournament thus far as “a bit of a roller coaster.”
“Even though Richard Bland is at 5-under, 1-over is right in the mix,” he said. “So, for the weekend, [I] still believe I have a great chance.”
Koepka appeared to be in position to make a move on Friday, but after a strong start, he faltered and shot 73, leaving him at even par for the weekend and five shots off the lead.
“I hung in there,’’ he said. “I feel right there. I feel like I’m in it.’’
Jon Rahm, who has a reputation for losing his cool but has worked hard to change that, was asked on Friday if he was on the verge of losing his cool in the second round, as he appeared frustrated at times.
“Am I ever going to escape that question?’’ Rahm said. “I never lost it. I got a little frustrated on a couple of holes. Just because I felt like I was making decent swings and not getting the results sometimes that you’d expect with certain swings.
“I think the most frustrating moment might have been 13 just because of how good a tee shot I had. I had plenty of club to get in there. I had a 5-wood, and I didn’t even have to hit it that hard. I just hit is so bad and it ended up so short in a tough lie. Just making a bogey there was probably the most frustrated I got.
“I was a bit more vocal on 14 after the second shot because I felt that was a good swing and I felt like it just got [wind] gusted. But, hey, I made the next shot, so I can’t really say much. I never really lost it.’’
Cameron Young, a Scarborough native, missed the cut after shooting 8-over after shooting 72 on Thursday and 78 on Friday. Hayden Buckley, who shot a 69 on Thursday, shot an 82 on Friday and failed to make the cut. Viktor Hovland had to withdraw from his Friday round after dirt or debris got into his eye while he was practicing prior to the event. He attempted to play, but the pain was too much for him to continue…. Francesco (2-over) and Edoardo (4-over) Molinari made the cut, becoming the first brother duo to do so since Jumbo and Joe Ozaki in 1973.
Kyle Westmoreland, the first Air Force Academy graduate to compete in a U.S. Open and the first to play in one of golf’s four major championships, is one of the cool under-the-radar stories developing this week.
Westmoreland, 29, who shot 71-72 and is 2-over par, made the cut.
While serving in the Air Force for five years, he put his professional dreams on hold and advanced through local qualifying at Columbia Country Club in Blythewood, South Carolina, where he won by two strokes (69), and sectional final qualifying at Dallas Athletic Club. While at the Air Force Academy, he won five times and has made five starts on the Korn Ferry Tour and two on the PGA Tour.