Collin Morikawa holds a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the 2022 U.S. Open Championship after producing the lowest round of the day at The Country Club, Brookline on Friday.
The two-time Major Champion carded five birdies and a solitary bogey to add a 66 to Thursday's 69 and head into the weekend on five under par alongside fellow American Joel Dahmen after his 68.
Reigning European Number One Morikawa and Dahmen have a stellar chasing pack breathing down their necks, with defending champion Jon Rahm, four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy, Hayden Buckley, Aaron Wise and Beau Hossler one shot behind in a tie for third, and World Number One Scottie Scheffler another stroke back.
Morikawa got his first birdie of the day at the 12th - his third hole - after sending his approach from the right rough to ten feet and rolling in the putt.
The 25-year-old's putter continued to serve him well as he made further gains at the 14th and 17th to reach the turn in 32.
A monster birdie putt at the first took the World Number Seven to five under par before he made his first bogey of the day on the fourth.
Co-leader at the halfway stage 👏 #USOpen pic.twitter.com/MfgTreRr57— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) June 17, 2022
Morikawa gave himself a brilliant chance to open up a two-shot lead at the top of a congested leaderboard when he sent his second shot at the par-five eighth to within four feet.
But he narrowly missed the eagle putt and had to settle for a birdie which took him back to five under.
And he got up and down for a par on the ninth to set the clubhouse target, which only later starter Dahmen was able to match.
Morikawa was not surprised to see the names of some of the world's best golfers high up on the leaderboard with him.
He said: "It's a Major Championship. It's the U.S. Open.
"No-one has taken it deep so far and kind of run away, but you know what, right now my game feels really good.
"The last few days is a huge confidence booster for me heading into this weekend, and hopefully we can kind of make some separation somehow.
"I've got to focus on tomorrow. I've got to stick to my game plan. I've got to make sure I don't run out of steam, which I kind of have been through that little stretch after nine holes.
"I've just got to figure out a way to focus a little bit deeper and really get dialled in for the next 36."
Fighting back on the back nine ✍️ @McIlroyRory is a shot off the lead.#USOpen pic.twitter.com/IgKCTEFypd— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) June 17, 2022
McIlroy suffered an early setback when he got stuck in long grass at the third, limiting the damage to a double bogey thanks to an excellent long putt.
He recovered brilliantly, though, adding five birdies and two bogeys to sign for a 69.
"After 36 holes in a Major Championship, all you want to do is put yourself right in the mix going into the weekend," said McIlroy.
"For a little part of the day there, it seemed like I was going to be a few more behind, but I dug deep and played the last eight holes really, really well."
Spaniard Rahm fired an eagle, three birdies and two bogeys in his stunning 67.
He said: "Very, I'll say, satisfied with today's round. I played good golf."