US Open 2022 standings set the stage for an exciting weekend at the Country Club

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BROOKLINE, Mass. — Golf fans couldn’t have wished for a more compelling weekend leaderboard at the 2022 US Open.

An impressive mix of established PGA Tour veterans, former major championship winners, big underdog stories and even a local favorite are in contention after two rounds at the Country Club.

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“It’s great. I think it’s a testament to the health and state of this game,” Jon Rahm said of the 36-hole standings. “It’s pretty amazing to see Rory back – back, it’s not like he’s ever gone anywhere, but playing back-to-back weeks and playing at the level he can. Obviously, Scottie ( Scheffler) doing what he’s been doing all year, Collin (Morikawa) doing what he always does, myself doing what I always try to do too.

“It’s fun for all of us because we all want to compete against the best and beat the best, and obviously it’s a lot more fun for people watching. Like I said, I think it’s great for the game of golf that the highest ranked players and the best players are up there, especially in the tournament where really the best player ends up winning.”

One of the co-leaders is Collin Morikawa, whose par 4-under was the best score on the course on Friday. He had five birdies and a bogey to finish at 5 under overall. Morikawa won the 2020 PGA Championship and the 2021 British Open. A victory at the US Open on Sunday would bring him closer to a career grand slam.

“It’s a major championship. It’s the US Open. Nobody pushed it this far and ran away,” Morikawa said. “Right now my game is feeling really good. The last few days are a huge confidence booster for me before this weekend. Hopefully we can do some separation.”

The other co-leader is Joel Dahmen, who secured his US Open spot in the final round of qualifying in Columbus, Ohio last week. Dahmen is only playing his ninth major and he’s missed the cut in four of the previous eight.

After Morikawa and Dahmen, several golfers are in contention with major championship wins, including Rahm, the defending US Open champion.

Rahm had three birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on the Par-5 14th to finish at 4 under par. The last two golfers to win back-to-back US Open titles were Brooks Koepka (2017, 2018) and Curtis Strange (1988, 1989). Strange’s victory in 1988 was the last time the US Open was played at the Country Club.

Rory McIlroy encountered a small problem on Friday, in particular a difficult 3rd hole where he made a double bogey.

But McIlroy bounced back impressively with three birdies over the final seven holes to finish at 4-under.

Another great champion within striking distance is Scottie Scheffler, who is two shots behind at 3 under par. The defending Masters winner played formidably on Friday with a par 4 under the back nine, including a fantastic eagle on the Par-5 14th.

One of the best underdog stories near the top of the leaderboard is Hayden Buckley, who sits at 4 under par. He shot 2 under each of the first two rounds, and the last four golfers since 2010 to do so at the US Open have all won the tournament. Buckley is ranked 250th in the world and has missed the cut in six of his last seven tournaments, but was selected this week.

“I think the most important thing is patience,” Buckley said. “We kind of learned that more than ever, missing six out of seven cups, it’s hard to have patience, I think. But understanding if we have patience, we’ll find something good soon and the here is.”

And how about a hometown favorite?

Keegan Bradley came to Brookline as one of five players representing New England. The Vermont native – who went to high school in Massachusetts – made a furious charge up the leaderboard on Friday before losing some steam on the back nine. He birdied six in eight holes, but those successes were marked by a bogey and a double bogey on his first three holes, as well as back-to-back bogeys on numbers 15 and 16.

Bradley was the only New England player to make the cut, and as a former major champion (2011 PGA Championship) he knows what kind of pressure to expect this weekend. He will also have the Boston crowd behind him.

There are 15 players all within three shots of each other at the top of the leaderboard heading into Saturday. This group also includes six of the top 18 players (and each of the top three) in the Official World Golf Rankings.

The stage is set for another dramatic conclusion to a golf course known for some of the most thrilling championship finishes in golf history.

“You want to compete against the best to try and get the best out of yourself,” McIlory said. “And seeing Collin and Jon and Scottie and Sam up there and whoever else is what major championship golf is. That’s what competition is.”

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