Will Zalatoris gets plenty of pelters for his erratic putting, but when he’s on, he’s on. A long birdie effort drained at 2, another chance shaving the cup at 3, and now he’s picked up another shot with another rake on 4! This guy loves the majors – five top-ten finishes in seven starts, including two runner-up places – and he promised he’d try his damnedest to go one better after losing the PGA play-off to Justin Thomas last month. He could be making good on that. He’s -3.
Callum Tarren has announced his talent this week. The 31-year-old from Darlington led the US Open by a couple of shots at one point yesterday, and they’ll never take that away from him. But he suffered a dismal back nine yesterday, coming back in 38, and it may have rocked his confidence. A shaky three-putt bogey at 1 and he slips back to level par overall.
It’s tough out there, and it’s only going to get tougher. But it’s always possible to post a score. Denny McCarthy is in with a two-under 68, though the 29-year-old from Maryland demonstrates how you have to keep on scrapping at 18, tapping a 20-foot birdie putt that runs and runs and runs five feet past. He’s not of a mind to spoil his good work on the very last hole, though, steeling himself to roll in the par putt. He’s +1, currently outside the top 20, but on Sky, the ever-excellent Dame Laura Davies suggests he’ll certainly be inside it come the end of an attritional day.
The only truly notable move so far has been made by the PGA runner-up Will Zalatoris. The 25-year-old from San Francisco has already made his mark on the US Open, making a hole-in-one during his first round at Winged Foot in 2020 then very nearly making another six holes later. A dimple away from history. He tied for sixth that year. He’s going along nicely this year too, having carded 69 and 70 while under the radar for the first two days. He only just gets onto the front of the par-three 2nd with his tee shot, but steers in a long right-to-left swinger for birdie, then nearly drains another at 3. He’s made the first move near the top of the leaderboard to -2.
Having said all that, one of the first players to complete his round today has done so under par. Sebastián Muñoz finished birdie-birdie, and signed for a one-under 69. The 29-year-old Colombian’s best finish at a US Open was a tie for 59th at Winged Foot a couple of years ago; at +2 overall, he’s currently tied for 30th and on course to better that significantly.
… so, any early movers, then? Well, the wind has been brisk at Brookline … so no. Of the 40-odd players already out there, a grand total of three are currently under par for their rounds, and one of those has only played two holes. The USGA will be a cock-a-hoop. Hey, it’s the US Open, it’s just how it got to be. The average score on the front nine on the first two days was 35.9; today it’s 36.9. The wind’s expected to pick up, as well, which in turn will further harden the greens. Expect it to be a grind … but grinding, as Prince never tired of telling us, can be a very enjoyable experience indeed. Here we go, then.
It’s Moving Day! Here’s how the top of the leaderboard looked after 36 holes …
-5: Morikawa, Dahmen
-4: Buckley, Rahm, McIlroy, Wise, Hossler
-3: Hardy, Scheffler, NeSmith, Rodgers, Harman
-2: Burns, Fitzpatrick, Hadwin
-1: Daffue, Tarren, Vick (a), Lingmerth, Riley, Schauffele, Bradley, Zalatoris
… here’s a selected list of players who missed the cut
Sergio Garcia, Im Sung-jae, Mito Pereira, Cory Conners, Webb Simpson, Shane Lowry, Jason Kokrak, Jim Furyk, Cameron Young, Stewart Cink, Kevin Na, Tony Finau, Kim Si-woo, Daniel Berger, Harold Warner III, Branden Grace, Cameron Smith, Louis Oosthuizen, Francesco Molinari, Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood and Phil Mickelson
… and here are today’s tee times (all times local, add five hours for BST). It’s on!
09:49 (a) Stewart Hagestad, Joseph Bramlett
10:00 Patrick Cantlay, Sebastian Munoz (Col)
10:11 (a) Sam Bennett, Denny McCarthy
10:22 Kyoung-Hoon Lee (Kor), Samuel Stevens
10:33 Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Min-Woo Lee (Aus)
10:44 Chris Naegel, Chris Gotterup
10:55 Guido Migliozzi (Ita), Grayson Murray
11:06 Max Homa, Adam Scott (Aus)
11:22 Wil Besseling (Ned), Jordan Spieth
11:33 Richard Bland (Eng), Todd Sinnott (Aus)
11:44 Bryson DeChambeau, Harris English
11:55 (a) Austin Greaser, Gary Woodland
12:06 Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Cameron Tringale
12:17 Marc Leishman (Aus), Joaquin Niemann (Chi)
12:28 Patrick Reed, Sebastian Soederberg (Swe)
12:39 Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose (Eng)
12:55 Seamus Power (Irl), Justin Thomas
13:06 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Adam Schenk
13:17 Brandon Matthews, Andrew Putnam
13:28 Joo-Hyung Kim (Kor), Brooks Koepka
13:39 Thomas Pieters (Bel), Will Zalatoris
13:50 Keegan Bradley, Xander Schauffele
14:01 Davis Riley, David Lingmerth (Swe)
14:12 Callum Tarren (Eng), (a) Travis Vick
14:28 MJ Daffue (Rsa), Adam Hadwin (Can)
14:39 Sam Burns, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng)
14:50 Brian Harman, Patrick Rodgers
15:01 Matthew NeSmith, Scottie Scheffler
15:12 Beau Hossler, Nick Hardy
15:23 Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Aaron Wise
15:34 Hayden Buckley, Jon Rahm (Spa)
15:45 Joel Dahmen, Collin Morikawa