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124th U.S. Open - Day two digest

124th U.S. Open - Day two digest

Everything you need to know from day two of the third Major Championship of the 2024 DP World Tour season.

Finau and Aberg

Ludvig Åberg edged ahead, Francesco Molinari took his lead from Sepp Straka to make the cut in style, Rory McIlroy was right in the mix and the pin was not your friend on day two of the U.S. Open.

Here is everything you need to know from Friday at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club.

Åberg hits the front

Åberg will take a one-shot lead into the weekend as he looks for a first Major Championship victory in just his third Major appearance. The Swede has been one of the most compelling stories in the game since turning professional just over 12 months ago, winning on both the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR, helping Europe win the Ryder Cup and rising to sixth on the Official World Golf Ranking. He finished second on his Major debut at the Masters Tournament in April and a second-round 69 moved him to five under and into pole position to go one better. Belgian Thomas Detry carded a 67 to sit a shot off the lead alongside Americans Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau, one clear of four-time Major winner McIlroy, Frenchman Matthieu Pavon and another home favourite in Tony Finau.

Making the cut in style

Molinari has achieved some remarkable things in the game of golf but he revealed the sport still had the power to surprise him after he made a hole-in-one to make the cut on the number. The Italian is a Major champion, a Rolex Series winner, a former European number one and a man who has won five points out of five at a Ryder Cup. But he was seven over par and just coming off a bogey as he stood on the ninth tee - his final hole of round two. He then holed his seven-iron tee-shot in barely believable fashion to secure his place in the field for the weekend. "It's hard to believe that something like this can happen," he said. "I've been around for a while now and I thought I'd seen everything on the golf course but this sport manages to surprise you all the time."

He wasn't the only one at it......

Earlier in the day, Straka also stood on the ninth tee with a seven iron in hand and he too just needed a single blow to find the bottom of the cup. "Perfect number for me," he said. "Tried to land at 185 (yards), it was a really good swing. Middle of the face, went right at it. Fortunately rolled out and went in the hole. I had one of my best friends playing with me today, J.T. (Poston). He was there for my ace at Augusta during the par three as well. Our celebration this time was a little bit better."

McIlroy in the mix

McIlroy was happy to put himself in a "great" position heading into the weekend after a second-round 72. That was seven shots more than his opening effort but the Northern Irishman was keeping everything in perspective as he took on the daunting No. 2 Course. McIlroy said after his bogey-free 65 on day one that he was "pretty sure" he would not stay that way throughout the week and so it proved as he made three bogeys to a single birdie in round two. At three under, however, he is still right in the mix and was very pleased with his first 36 holes. “Overall I felt like I did a pretty good job at keeping some of the mistakes off the scorecard," he said. "I wish I had converted a couple more of the chances. Hit the ball pretty well. I think only missed one fairway. So I had plenty of opportunities. Wasn’t quite as good with the putter today but still overall in a great position going into the weekend.”

Not all pars are equal

There is little shame in putting the ball off the green when the surfaces are like the ones this week. There is even less when you hole the chip on the way back to save par.

McKibbin enjoying Major debut

McIlroy wasn't the only boy from Holywood shining a long way from home. Tom McKibbin is also from the town near Belfast and he birdied the last to ensure he will be around on the weekend in his first appearance at a Major.

Golf is a cruel game

Sometimes you can hit a shot that is almost perfect and still get punished.

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