Matteo Manassero (Getty Images)
Only six players broke par on the second morning of the US Open Championship, and Matteo Manassero emerged with the most credit after recording just a solitary bogey in his round of 69.
Manassero, who earned his second visit to the US Open Championship through a play-off at last month’s International Sectional Qualifier, possesses an old head on young shoulders, and readily learned some harsh lessons from a first round of 76.
The two-time European Tour champion started with 12 straight pars, before dropping his only shot of the day at the tough third hole.
But he responded in fine fashion at the next hole by hitting a five iron approach to three feet and rolling in the putt, and the Italian rounded off a highly satisfactory day’s work with a second birdie at the eighth, his last hole.
Shaving seven shots off his opening effort was no mean feat, particularly on a course as demanding as the Olympic Club, and the 19 year old – a relative veteran compared to 14 year old Andy Zhang and amateur sensation Beau Hossler – was understandably delighted with his second day comeback.
He said: “It feels great to break par on a course like this. I knew I had to shoot low to give myself a chance of making the cut, and I managed to do that. I missed on the right side today, which is very important. So I managed to recover well, plus I was probably a bit more focused by trying to make the cut.
“I fought hard, made some really good putts on my front nine and coming down the stretch. I saved par three times in a row from the 16th, which was very important. I also made a good birdie on four, and finishing with a birdie is always pleasing.
“It’s very difficult to break par out there, but if I can do it again tomorrow I’ll be much closer to the top of the leaderboard than the bottom, that’s for sure.”