Fowler stays ahead at halfway stage in US Open -

Fowler stays ahead at halfway stage in US Open

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Rickie Fowler plays his tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the 2023 U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif. on Friday, June 16, 2023. (Chris Keane/USGA).

Khel Today Bureau 

Los Angeles, US: Rickie Fowler backed up his first round championship-record 62 with a 2-under 68 to get to 10-under total of 130 at the halfway stage of the 13rd US Open at Los Angeles Country Club.

Sitting one stroke back is Wyndham Clark, who claimed his first PGA Tour win 40 days ago at the Wells Fargo Championship. He posted a second-round 67 to accompany his opening 64.

Fowler’s total of 130 matches the halfway scoring mark by Martin Kaymer, the man Fowler finished second to in that 2014 championship at Pinehurst.

Fowler and Clark are being chased hard by several stars including past champions Rory McIlroy (2011) and Dustin Johnson (2016), who are two and four strokes back. Then there is the 18-hole co-leader Xander Schauffele, who birdied his final two holes to post even-par 70 and tie McIlroy at 8-under 132. Schauffele has finished no worse than a share of 14th in six U.S. Open starts.

Harris English’s Friday 66 has him  three behind and then lurking around is world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who sits at 5-under 135 with 2022 U.S. Amateur champion Sam Bennett.

The LACC is now expected to show its teeth over the final 36 holes as the course begins to firm up.

The cut of 2-over-par 142 was the lowest in championship history, surpassing last year’s mark of 143 at The Country Club and 2003 at Olympia Fields Country Club.

Fowler, had one of the craziest U.S. Open rounds with eight birdies, six bogeys and four pars. His 18 birdies through 36 holes shattered the championship mark by four – Gil Morgan posted 14 at Pebble Beach in 1992.

For a player with just five PGA Tour wins and no majors – he finished in the top 5 of all four in 2014 and this could well be end of his Major drought.

Though he hasn’t won on Tour since the 2019 WM Phoenix Open, Fowler does have three top 10s in his last six starts.

McIlroy owns 36 worldwide victories, but he has been major-less since the 2014 PGA Championship. He’s coming off a tie for seventh at last month’s PGA, and a year ago, he finished in the top 10 of all four, including a solo second in the Masters, the one major he needs to complete the career Grand Slam.

Sixty-one professionals and four amateurs will play Round 3 on Saturday.

For the second consecutive day, a hole-in-one was recorded on the par-3 15th hole. Defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick aced the 115-yarder with a wedge, raising the total to three for the championship and 51 in U.S. Open history. Fitzpatrick shot even-par 70 to make the cut (1-over 141).

Phil Mickelson shot a disappointing 74 on his 53rd birthday on Friday to miss the 36-hole cut. The U.S. Open is the only major title missing from his tally and he  owns six runner-up finishes.

Other notables missing the cut included U.S. Open champions Martin Kaymer (2014), Justin Rose (2013) and Jordan Spieth (2015), as well as major champions Keegan Bradley, Stewart Cink, Jason Day, Francisco Molinari, Adam Scott and Justin Thomas. Also missing out was  local favourite Max Homa.

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