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Slice of the Action.... more from Merion

Groundhog at the US Open  (Getty Images)
Groundhog at the US Open (Getty Images)

Our team at Merion brings you all of more action from behind the scenes at the US Open.

18 out of 18

Billy Horschel’s round of 67 equalled the low round of the week, but what really stood out was the fact he hit all 18 greens in regulation – the first golfer to do so in the US Open since the USGA started recording that stat in 1992. With Merion taking its toll on so many great players it was an incredible achievement for 26 year old Horschel in only his second US Open.

“It’s a cool thing, but it’s not the first time I have hit all 18 greens,” he said. I’ve done it plenty of times in my career, but obviously not at the US Open.”

The secret to Merion
Luke Donald is right in the mix tucked in behind the leaders at level par after two days and Merion, with its demands on strong iron play, steady putting and patience, seems to play to Donald’s strengths. The Englishman took the opportunity to speak to the last US Open Champion here, 1981 winner David Graham, to try and unlock the secrets of this great course. “I asked him ‘What’s the secret?’” Donald said. “And he said ‘Keep it on the short stuff.’ Obviously, I think most of us know that. It’s about doing it.”

English lined up to end 43 year wait
No Englishman has won the US Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970 but three of them are lined up to mount a challenge over the weekend with Donald and Justin Rose level par and Ian Poulter two over, having frustratingly dropped two shots on the completion of his second round on Saturday morning.

Italian job
One European has already tasted success at Merion with Edoardo Molinari winning the 2005 US Amateur over the Philadelphia course. Sadly the elder of the Molinari brothers didn’t qualify and Francesco is on an early plane home after missing the cut. But it’s still worth remembering that historic win as Edoardo became the first Italian to win the US Amateur and here's how he remembered that victory. Watch here

Debutants
Well done to John Parry as birdied the ninth and then parred the tenth to make the cut in his first Major. Great performance from one of four European Tour Members making their Major Championship debuts this week with Parry shooting 76-71. Of the other three Major debutants, both Chris Doak and Jaco Van Zyl finished at ten over par and Eddie Pepperell at +14.

Strong Tour contingent make it through
25 of the 43 European Tour Members who teed up on Thursday made it through to the final two rounds. That includes six in the top ten and 12 in top 20. Six of the 13 players who qualified through the International Qualifier at Walton Heath – winner Simon Khan, Paul Casey, Morten Orum Madsen, Peter Hedblom, Parry and David Howell – all made the cut.

Groundhog Day
After the delays of the first day when over four hours play was lost to the weather, there was a sense of Groundhog Day as the USGA sought to catch up the lost time, a sense that was further strengthened by the appearance of a Groundhog which started roaming the course as Phil Mickelson played his second round.

 

7 iron? - not for Poulter
For many players a seven iron is a favourite club in the bag but Ian Poulter has opted to take one out of his bag this week and replace it with an extra wedge. He tweeted: "No 7 iron because I've only needed a 7 iron yardage once in 36 holes so hit a soft cut 6. The extra wedge much more helpful."

 

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