5 things: McIlroy the story of Congressional
BETHESDA, Md. – Five things you need to know from the second round at Congressional Country Club:
1.) Rory’s day: Friday was all about Rory McIlroy, whose 66 included a hole-out eagle on the par-4 eighth hole. McIlroy is at 11-under 131 (65-66) and is the first player to reach double digits under par in the second round of a U.S. Open. The scoreboard will show that he has a six-shot lead through 36 holes, but his lead was 10 when he came to the 18th tee, and eight shots after a double-bogey at the par-4 18th. McIlroy hit his approach on the final hole from the left rough to the lake that surrounds the peninsula green.
“It’s been two very, very good days of golf,” McIlroy said. “I put myself in a great position going into the weekend. But I know probably more than anyone else what can happen. So I’ve got to stay really focused and try and finish this thing off.”
McIlory’s six-stroke lead ties Tiger Woods (2000) for the largest 36-hole lead at the U.S. Open. Woods, in 2002, is the last wire-to-wire winner (no ties) at the U.S. Open.
2.) Back at it: Y.E. Yang is the only player within nine shots of the lead. Yang, the 2009 PGA champion, is at 5-under 137 (68-69), six shots back of McIlroy. Yang also trailed Tiger Woods by six shots at the halfway point of the ’09 PGA.
3.) The deepest cut: The cut is expected to fall at 4 over when the third round is completed Saturday morning. Hunter Mahan, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Nick Watney, Ernie Els, Ian Poulter, David Toms, Francesco Molinari, Camilo Villegas, Peter Uihlein, Jim Furyk and K.J. Choi were among the notables to miss the cut.
4.) Left out: Phil Mickelson continued his struggles Friday at Congressional, but he made a little move up the leaderboard.
Mickelson had five birdies Friday, but a double-bogey on the 18th kept him from finishing in red numbers. He’s at 1-over 143 (74-69), 12 shots behind McIlroy.
Mickelson hit 8 of 14 fairways, three more than in Thursday’s first round. He hit 13 greens after hitting just eight one day earlier.
“It was a disappointing finish with that double, but I’m still struggling, even though I was able to shoot under par today,” Mickelson said.
He’s a five-time runner-up at the U.S. Open, most recently in 2009. He was fourth in 2010.
5.) Amateur hour: Patrick Cantlay, who recently completed his freshman year at UCLA, shot 67 Friday. He’s not running away with the race for low-amateur honors, though.
Cantlay (75-67) and Russell Henley (73-69) are tied at even-par 142. Henley is looking to earn low-amateur honors for two consecutive years. He tied for 16th at Pebble Beach.
Cantlay was 6 over for his first 22 holes this week. He birdied six of his final 11 holes Friday, including a bogey-free 30 on Congressional’s difficult back nine. He made putts of 30, 50, 5, 30 and 4 feet on that side. Cantlay beat the field by nearly a stroke per hole on the back nine. The field averaged 37.2 strokes on the back nine today.