No.1 Scheffler grabs share of US Open lead as McIlroy looms
World number one Scottie Scheffler grabbed a share of the clubhouse lead in Friday's second round of the US Open with Rory McIlroy poised for an afternoon start.
Reigning Masters champion Scheffler made an eagle and two birdies in the last six holes to fire a three-under-par 67 and stand on three-under 137 alongside US journeyman compatriot Nick Hardy at The Country Club.
"I just stayed real patient," said Scheffler. "I hit it really good. If a few putts had gone in instead of around, it could have been a really special day."
Third-ranked McIlroy, a four-time major champion, was on 3-under and set for an afternoon start, as were American Joel Dahmen and Sweden's David Lingmerth after 67s on Thursday.
England's Callum Tarren birdied the par-4 third from just inside 14 feet to reach 4-under for the overall lead with plenty of trouble awaiting on the 7,254-yard layout.
Scheffler, trying to match Tiger Woods as the only world number one to win the US Open, began on level par and stumbled with bogeys at the fifth and par-3 sixth holes.
"I was swinging well," Scheffler said. "It's just hard. It's a US Open."
Scheffler birdied the par-5 eighth after reaching the green in two, sank a seven-foot birdie putt at 13, then holed out from 55 yards in the rough for eagle at the par-5 14th.
"Just had a really good chip and it went in," Scheffler said.
Scheffler followed with a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th and barely missed a 13-foot birdie putt at the 18th before tapping in to share the clubhouse lead.
Unheralded Hardy, a 26-year-old American ranked 371 in the world, grabbed his share of the clubhose lead by shooting 68.
The back-nine starter found a greenside bunker and missed a 9-foot par putt to bogey 15 but sank 10-foot birdie putts at 17 and the par-3 second and a five-footer to birdie the par-5 eighth and reach 3-under.
"Couldn't be a better start," Hardy said. "Happy with how I'm driving the ball. If I keep doing that, it's going to be a happy weekend."
American Sam Burns, chasing his first major victory, was one adrift on 138 after shooting 67.
Contenders rose and fell in the morning, with 18-hole leader Adam Hadwin of Canada, who fired his best major round with a 66 Thursday, on 4-over for the day through 16 holes to tumble from the top.
The wildest ride belonged to South Africa's M.J. Daffue, making his major debut. The 33-year-old from Pretoria, birdied four of the first seven holes to grab a three-stroke lead, then made three bogeys in five holes on the back nine and closed with a double bogey to shoot 72 and stand on 139.
McIlroy was set to tee off at the 7,254-yard layout in windy conditions with a chance of storms.
McIlroy, chasing his first major title since 2014, comes off a victory in last week's PGA Canadian Open. Not since 1934 has a player won the week before and then captured the US Open.
- Piot sets pace for LIV -
American James Piot, the 2021 US Amateur champion who had yet to start, was on 1-under overall and the best of the 15 LIV Golf players in the first event where they face US PGA Tour talent.
With the richest purses in golf history, Saudi-backed LIV Golf has lured players from the PGA Tour, which banned 17 current and former members last week after they played LIV's debut event in England.
A regular-season LIV event offers $25 million in prize money, $7.5 million more than the US Open pays.
The US Golf Association decided to stay with its Open qualifying criteria and didn't ban LIV Golf players.
Among several LIV Golf players likely to miss the cut was six-time major winner Phil Mickelson.
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