<
>

Best moments from the second round of the 2024 U.S. Open

The second round of 124th U.S. Open concluded Friday evening with Ludvig Åberg leading at Pinehurst No. 2.

Belgium's Thomas Detry, Patrick Cantlay and 2020 U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau are tied for second on the leaderboard, trailing Aberg by 1 shot heading into the final 36 holes.

Here are the highlights from the second round of the 2024 tournament in North Carolina.

Molinari miracle keeps him alive

There might not be a better way to make the cut -- ever. Sitting at 7 under, 2 shots outside the projected cut line heading into his final hole -- the par-3 ninth -- Francesco Molinari needed a miracle to make the weekend. And he got just that.

Molinari's 7-iron landed just over the front bunker and rolled perfectly toward the hole. When it dropped, Molinari dropped his hands on his knees and couldn't believe it. Cancel that flight. Molinari is sticking around. -- Uggetti

Two holes left for Tiger

That will probably do it for Tiger. After badly pulling his 325-yard tee shot on 16 into pine straw on the left, his second shot was struck well. His ball landed on the green but didn't stop. It rolled off the back, finally coming to rest about 34½ feet from the hole. Tiger attempted to putt back up to the green but didn't hit his ball hard enough. It didn't clear the bank and rolled to the right. He missed a 12-footer for par, moving him to 3 over in the round and 7 over in the tournament with two holes to play. -- Mark Schlabach

A game of inches

Tiger's cruel lip-out on a birdie putt on the par-3 15th might end up costing him a tee time in the final two rounds of the 124th U.S. Open. Sitting at 6 over -- with the projected cut at 5 over -- Tiger hit one of his better shots off the No. 15 tee. He took an aggressive line on the 172-yard hole, and his ball settled about 15½ feet on the right fringe. Woods took a half-step after putting, believing his ball was going to fall in the cup. Instead, it lipped out. He tapped in for his third straight par. Tiger probably needs to pick up a birdie in the last three holes to get to 5 over and make the cut. -- Schlabach

Finau making a run

Hello, Tony Finau. He has been flying under the radar so far this week, but Finau made sure that was no longer the case as he started his back nine on Friday. Birdies on the 10th hole and an impressive 36-foot putt from off the green for another birdie put Finau at 4 under for the tournament (2 under for the day) and just 2 shots back of the leader.

After Schauffele won this year's PGA Championship, Finau is arguably one of the best players to have not yet won a major. For at least 30 holes so far, Finau has put himself in the mix to do just that. -- Paolo Uggetti

Trouble for Tiger

Just as the cut line slides to 5 over, keeping Woods inside of it, he proceeds to take himself out with a bad bogey on the 12th hole. After Woods hit a perfect drive 313 yards down the left side of the fairway, giving him a great position to hit the green, his approach shot hit on the left side and rolled all the way off. Woods opted for the putter instead of a wedge but ran the birdie try 11 feet past the hole. This time, he couldn't make the comebacker, and his third bogey of the day put him at 6 over, 1 shot outside the projected cut line. -- Uggetti

Leader of the pack

There are eight former University of Georgia golfers in the U.S. Open field, including reigning Open Championship winner Brian Harman and surging star Sepp Straka, so there probably aren't many people who would have picked Davis Thompson as the low Dog of the week. But Thompson is at 3 under after seven holes, 2 strokes behind co-leaders Patrick Cantlay and Ludvig Åberg. Thompson, 25, has never made the cut at a major. He went nose-to-nose with Jon Rahm in the 2023 American Express but is still looking for his first victory on tour. -- Schlabach

Cantlay goes down leaderboard

That's one way to come down the leaderboard. First-round leader Patrick Cantlay, who began his second round at 5 under and made a birdie on the sixth hole to get to 6 under, tumbled down to 4 under with a bad double bogey on the eighth hole. After his approach shot went long left of the green, Cantlay proved the words of Tiger Woods earlier in the week right when Woods said players would pingpong around some of Pinehurst No. 2's greens. Cantlay's first chip landed on the green and went off of it on the other side. His second chip didn't hold and came back to his feet. A third chip finally kept him on the surface, where he made a 12-footer for double bogey to limit the damage. -- Uggetti

Tiger with work to do

That's a tough break for Tiger to close out the front nine. His tee shot on the 194-yard, par-3 ninth nearly went in the left greenside bunker. Instead, it shot across the green and settled in well-trampled hardpan between two grandstands, about 69 feet from the hole. His first chip shot up the green was short and nearly rolled back to his feet. His third shot was much better and almost went in the hole. He made a downhill 5-footer for bogey. Tiger made the turn at 1 over, 5 over in the tournament. He has work to do on the back. -- Schlabach

Theegala makes arguably the shot of the day

Sahith Theegala may not be in true contention at this year's U.S. Open, but he might have perhaps the best shot of the day. On the brutally tough par-3 15th hole, Theegala ended up behind the greenside bunker and nearly perpendicular to the hole. Bogey would have been acceptable. Par would have been remarkable.

Instead, Theegala used his patented creativity to hit a bump-and-run shot that somehow skirted the bunker and ran up to the right slope on the green. The ball slowly fed toward the hole and dropped in to take Theegala to 3 under on the day and 4 over for the tournament. -- Uggetti

Cantlay, Åberg leading the way

The afternoon heat and tough conditions haven't affected the leaders yet. After starting at 4 under, Ludvig Åberg quickly made birdies on the second and fifth holes to get to 6-under and the solo lead. It didn't last long, however, as first-round leader Patrick Cantlay made his first birdie of the day, draining a 21-foot putt on the sixth hole, to join Åberg -- who has yet to miss a fairway -- at the top at 6-under. -- Uggetti

Big birdie for Tiger

There's a big step in the right direction for Tiger on the par-4 fourth hole, which had been the second-most difficult on the course in the second round. After hitting his tee shot 294 yards down the right side of the fairway, Woods was left with 230 yards to the hole. He ripped his ball to the middle of the green, then sank a 16½-footer for birdie to move to 1 under after four holes. He's 3 over in the tournament, right on the projected cut line. -- Schlabach

Chaos in store?

Bryson DeChambeau said he planned to go back to his rental house and watch "havoc" in the afternoon, as Pinehurst No. 2 browns out and firms up. He won't be the only golfer hoping for high scores. World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler (5 over), Tommy Fleetwood (5 over), Shane Lowry (5 over), Cameron Young (5 over), Keegan Bradley (4 over) and defending U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark (4 over) need some help to make the cut. The top 60 scores and ties will play the final 36 holes. It's currently projected to be 3 over, but it's anticipated that it will move to at least 4 over. -- Schlabach

Bryson's ready for the weekend

Bryson DeChambeau noticed something early in his second round Friday morning -- the greens at Pinehurst No. 2 were already firmer and faster. He survived to post a 1-under 69, giving him a 36-hole total of 4-under. He was tied for third. As for the weekend: bring it on.

"It actually started to get pretty firm already, which is a sign that they want this golf course rolling by tomorrow and Sunday," DeChambeau said. "I'm excited for the test and challenge, and I think it's going to continue to evolve, especially with the conditions being as hot as they are, and if the wind picks up, it's going to be diabolical." -- Schlabach

Tiger saves one

That was a big par save for Tiger on the par-4 second hole. After making par on the first, he nearly made a mess of the 503-yard second, which has been the second-toughest hole at Pinehurst No. 2 this week. Tiger pushed his tee shot into the native area on the right, and his ball settled next to wire grass. He punched out to 52 yards, chipped to about 13 feet, then sank the putt to save par. He's at 4 over. -- Schlabach

Tiger's up

Three-time U.S. Open winner Tiger Woods is set to tee off in the second round on No. 1. After struggling through a 4-over 74 on Thursday, Woods will have to clean things up if he wants to stick around for the weekend. The U.S. Open cut is the top 60 scores and ties. There are currently 73 players at 3 over or better, although conditions are expected to get firmer and faster this afternoon, so at least 4 over might be a more likely cut. Tiger struggled with his iron play and putting at times in the first round. He's trying to avoid missing the cut in a second straight major. -- Schlabach

Detry stays hot

Thomas Detry continues to scorch his way up the leaderboard. After making three birdies in his first nine holes, Detry hit it to 3 feet on No. 1 (he started on the back nine) and made an easy birdie before draining a 22-foot putt on the third hole. He's tied with Patrick Cantlay at 5 under after starting the day at 1 under. -- Uggetti

Bairstow turns it around

Talk about a turnaround. England's Sam Bairstow posted a 14-over 84 Thursday in his first round in a U.S. Open. A day later, he carded a 3-under 67, a 17-shot improvement and the best round in the clubhouse so far. On Thursday, Bairstow had seven bogeys, one double bogey and a triple bogey. On Friday, he had five birdies and two bogeys. The best improvement from Round 1 to Round 2 in the U.S. Open is 19 shots, accomplished by four players, most recently Earl Puckett in 1965 (93-74). -- Schlabach

Trouble for the world No. 1

If Scottie Scheffler doesn't turn things around and make the cut in the final three holes of the second round, he would join Greg Norman (1997, Congressional), Tiger Woods (2006, Winged Foot), Luke Donald (2012, Olympic Club) and Dustin Johnson (2017, Erin Hills) as the only No. 1-ranked players in the world to miss the cut at the U.S. Open, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Stats guru Justin Ray of Twenty First Group noted on X that Scheffler has never had a birdie-free round in a major as a pro. -- Schlabach

Chaos on No. 5

When three of the best players in the world play a par-5, you usually expect a birdie or two, maybe an eagle. At worst, you'd expect par. Not at Pinehurst No. 2, and certainly not on the par-5 fifth hole, with today's pin location all the way on the left. All three of Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele decided to attack said pin with their approach shots.

None of them held the green, and all watched in horror as their balls trickled off the steep left slope and into the native, sandy area below. It's one of the worst places to be on that golf course, and it showed. Scheffler's and Schauffele's chips came back to their feet, and McIlroy learned from their mistakes and sent it long of the pin and off the green on the right side. McIlroy was able to get up and down for par, which might be his best par of the day, but Schauffele and Scheffler suffered a far worse fate and walked off with double bogey. Note to self -- and to everyone in the field -- don't go left on No. 5. -- Uggetti

A rally from Hovland

Give reigning FedEx Cup champion Viktor Hovland credit for not mailing it in. After posting an 8-over 78 in the first round, Hovland opened the second with a birdie on No. 1. Then a double bogey on the par-4 eighth dropped him to 9 over. Hovland is finally putting things together with four birdies in a five-hole stretch to get to 5 over, giving himself a chance to make the cut. He made putts of 16 feet and 8 feet on Nos. 9 and 10, respectively, then hit his approach shots to 4 feet on 12 and 2½ feet on 13. -- Schlabach

Xand3r Schauff3l3

Talk about throwing up 3s. PGA Championship winner Xander Schauffele, after making a pair of bogeys on his first two holes on the back nine, carded seven 3s in the first 13 holes of the second round. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Hunter Mahan recorded the most 3s in one round in a U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 with nine in 2014. Mahan's round included five bogeys and a double-bogey, which caused him to miss the cut. Schauffele isn't in danger of doing that -- he's 3 under with five holes to play. Schauffele has hit 9 of 13 fairways so far and leads the field in strokes gained: approach (3.08) in the round. -- Schlabach

Straka catches a break

Pinehurst No. 2 has taken plenty of shots from the world's best golfers in the second round of the U.S. Open. It finally gave a couple back to Sepp Straka. The University of Georgia alum got a terrible break when his approach shot on the par-4 third hole bounced off the pin and bounded into a bunker. He ended up making a triple-bogey 7.

On the par-3 ninth, Straka took two of those strokes back when he made an ace from 194 yards. It was the first hole-in-one of the tournament. He is 2 over at the turn. -- Schlabach

Xander makes a run

Here comes Xander Schauffele. After starting off his round with back-to-back bogeys, taking him to 2 over for the tournament, the 2024 PGA Championship winner buckled down and made three birdies in six holes, including a dart that stopped 2 feet from the 18th hole. Schauffele hasn't had his best stuff so far, but he's been grinding on a tough golf course. He heads to his second nine of the day in great position. -- Uggetti

Tough day for Scottie

It's been another frustrating day for world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler. He started on the back and carded bogeys on both par-3 holes. On the 15th, he missed the green and couldn't make a 17½-footer for par. On the 17th, he hit his tee shot into a left greenside bunker and missed a 9-footer. He was 2 over in the round at the turn and 3 over in the tournament. Scheffler's frustration is beginning to show. After narrowly missing a birdie putt on No. 16, he tossed his putter into the air. When his tee shot on No. 18 went way left, he slammed his driver into the ground and threw his tee. -- Schlabach

A surprise at second

Here comes Belgium's Thomas Detry. The former University of Illinois star has moved into a tie for second place at 4 under after making three straight birdies on Nos. 11-13. After starting on the back nine and making par on No. 10, Detry drained a 17½-footer on 11, a 13-footer on 12 and a 16½-footer on 13. Detry was one of the best amateur players in the world but is still seeking his first professional win on the PGA Tour or DP World Tour. His best finish in the U.S. Open was a tie for 49th at Winged Foot in 2020. -- Schlabach

Turning back the clock

Germany's Martin Kaymer, who ran away with an 8-stroke victory in the last U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014, is right back in the mix a decade later. Kaymer got to 2 under with an 11½-foot birdie putt on the par-4 13th, then gave it right back with a bogey on the 14th. He's at 1 under par. If Kaymer, an LIV Golf League captain, could somehow win again this week, it would be the third-longest stretch between U.S. Open victories. Julius Boros (1952-1963) and Hale Irwin (1979-90) waited 11 years in between their wins. -- Schlabach

McIlroy saves par

For the second day in a row, McIlroy gave the Pinehurst crowd something to cheer about with another chip-in from off the green. After McIlroy hit his approach shot on the par-3 17 way past the pin, his putt ran past the hole and off the green to the short grass. A frustrated McIlroy asked for it to stop -- to no avail -- then proceeded to save par with his wedge. No putter necessary. McIlroy, who started on the 10th hole Friday, is 2 over for the day and 3 under for the tournament. -- Uggetti

Rory struggles early

They're off and running in the second round of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. McIlroy, who started Friday as the co-leader with Patrick Cantlay, didn't card a 5 in the first round while posting a bogey-free 5-under 65. Starting on the back nine Friday, McIlroy has already posted two. He missed a 12-foot birdie try and settled for par on the par-5 10th. On the par-4 11th, his approach shot rolled off the green. He chipped about 5½ feet past the hole and missed the par putt coming back. He's 4 under, 1 stroke behind Cantlay. --- Schlabach