A weekend of showdown of golf’s top stars took place at the US Open on Friday as two-time major winner Collin Morikawa took a share of the lead while Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy were adrift . Seventh-ranked Morikawa shot a par 66 four-under and American Joel Dahmen, who shot 68, joined him on a 135 five-under after 36 holes at the Country Club. Second defending champion Rahm, McIlroy third, and Americans Hayden Buckley, Aaron Wise and Beau Hossler tied for third with 136 points. “But you know what, right now my game is really good.
“These last few days are a huge boost for me ahead of this weekend, and hopefully we can make a separation somehow.”
Morikawa won last year’s British Open and the 2020 PGA Championship and the 25-year-old American could be 75% of the way to a career Grand Slam by Sunday night.
“I can’t really talk about what it would be like to win this one. I have to focus on tomorrow,” Morikawa said. “I have to make sure I don’t run out of steam…I just have to find a way to focus a little deeper and really prepare for the next 36.”
From the 10th tee, Morikawa made birdie putts 10 feet on the 12th hole, 13 feet on the par-5 14th, 14 feet on the 17th and 33 feet on the first.
After his lone bogey in the fourth, Morikawa dropped his second shot on the par-4 eighth four feet from the cup, but missed his eagle putt and settled for a birdie.
“I knew the pacing was a bit off,” Morikawa said. “It turned out to be a bad move. So I’m not too worried about it.”
McIlroy, who suffered a double disaster on the third hole, sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the 12th, drove the green in half to set up a birdie tap-in on the par-5 14th and sank a putt from 12 foot birdie putt at 17.
“I’m in a good position,” McIlroy said. “I’m really happy with the state of my game and I think that’s the most important thing.”
McIlroy, chasing his first major title since 2014, is coming off a win at the PGA Canadian Open last week. Not since 1934 has a player won the week before and then won the US Open.
“I have to go with the mindset this week that I’m going to try and win my first again,” McIlroy said. “I play golf as well as I have played in a long time.”
Scottie Scheffler, the top-ranked Masters champion, with an eagle and two birdies in the final six holes, was on 137.
“I just stayed very patient,” Scheffler said. “If a few putts had gone in instead of going around, it could have been a really special day.”
Rahm, a starting back nine, made a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 14th, drove the green to set up a birdie on the par-4 fifth and chipped rough past a birdie tap-in at eight .
“It’s great for the game of golf to have the top ranked players and the best players up there,” Rahm said. “It’s fun for all of us because we all want to compete with the best and beat the best.”
Dahmen, 34, won his only PGA title last year in the Dominican Republic. He missed a 10-foot birdie putt at 18 that would have given him the lead on his own.
“It’s kind of a blur, which is probably a good thing,” Dahmen said. “I managed the nerves pretty well. It’s going to be one hell of a weekend.”
Mickelson misses the cut
Six-time overall winner Phil Mickelson missed the cut with 11 of 151. The 52-year-old American southpaw was among 15 rebels in the Saudi-backed LIV golf series against the stars of the US PGA Tour.
Great American champions Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed led the LIV players on the court with 141, with Bryson DeChambeau and Richard Bland also making the cut on 142. But the LIV players were combined 53-over Thursday and 36-over on Friday .
With the richest purses in golf history, LIV Golf has attracted talent from the PGA Tour, which banned 17 current and former members last week after playing LIV’s first event in England.
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