Collin Morikawa shares US Open lead but Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy are lurking at Brookline
But the duo have a posse of players, including defending champion Jon Rahm, in-form Rory McIlroy and world No 1 Scottie Scheffler breathing down their necks at The Country Club in Brookline.For Morikawa, the last couple of months have been a search to regain the form that led to a pair of major titles.
His five starts since a solo fifth at the Masters in April have resulted in no better than a tie for 26th.
That stretch includes a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament and a T55 in last month’s PGA Championship in Tulsa. Those aren’t results that people are accustomed to seeing from the world No. 7.
Maybe all the affable Southern California native needed was a visit to Boston, and specifically The Country Club to cure his issues.
After a solid one-under-par 69 in Thursday’s opening round, Morikawa matched the championship’s lowest round – a 66 – on Friday to share the 36-hole lead with qualifier Dahmen.
One stroke back are Rahm (69-67), 2011 winner Rory McIlroy (67-69), Aaron Wise (68-68) and qualifiers Hayden Buckley (68-68) and Beau Hossler (69-67).
Masters champion Scheffler (70-67) is among the group two strokes back on thee-under.
Should Morikawa close the deal over the next 36 holes, the five-time PGA Tour winner would become the quickest player in history to attain three major titles.
This is only Morikawa’s 11th major-championship start since he turned professional after graduating from the University of California-Berkeley in 2019.
Peter Thomson notched his third major title, the 1956 British Open, in start No. 12, while Lee Trevino (1971 British Open) and Ralph Guldahl (1939 Masters) needed 15 starts.
“I think what it proves is just you can play this game with many shots,” said Morikawa. “I remember the first time I played with Tiger [Woods], and he hit every shot that called for it. Pin is on the right; you hit a little cut. Pin is on the left; you hit a little draw.
“This is just going to hopefully make my iron play and make my game a little bit more well-rounded rather than just hitting a cut. But this week we're just going to work with what we have, and right now it's a little baby draw.”
Prior to his 36-hole final qualifier in Ohio, Dahmen considered withdrawing and using US Open week to rest for the remainder of the PGA Tour season.
He didn’t think his game, which relies on precision over power, translated to major-championship setups.
The Country Club isn’t a bombers’ paradise, however, and the Washington native has hit 28 of 36 greens to tie for first in the field.
“This is really cool, but it's really all for naught if you go lay and egg on the weekend,” said Dahmen, who owns one PGA Tour win since joining the circuit in 2016. “This is fun, but it would be really fun if I was doing this again Saturday and Sunday.”McIlroy, bidding to become the first player in the post-World War II era to claim the US Open a week after winning a PGA Tour event (RBC Canadian Open), rebounded from a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 third hole to get back into contention at four-under.Rahm, meanwhile, used an eagle 3 on No. 14 to get his round going, and he offset a bogey on No. 1 with birdies on the 305-yard fifth and 547-yard, par-5 eighth.
Players to miss the cut included Sergio Garcia, Shane Lowry, Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood and Phil Mickelson.
Victor Perez and Laird Shepherd, who are based in Dundee and St Andrews respectively, also bowed out early, as did Tony Jacklin’s son Sean, the sole Scot in the field.