2022 U.S. Open leaderboard breakdown: Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm soar to the highest as Rory McIlroy holds

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Historical past was at all times going to be made this week in Brookline, Massachusetts. That was inevitable. Nonetheless, the Boston trustworthy couldn’t have envisioned a greater leaderboard heading into the weekend on the 2022 U.S. Open. Whereas defending champion Jon Rahm and four-time main winner Rory McIlroy are firmly in rivalry sitting only one stroke off the lead, it’s the identify on the high which has the potential to supply a really jaw-dropping second come Sunday.

That identify belongs to Collin Morikawa, who fired a 4-under 66 on Friday to succeed in 5 below for the championship and command the co-lead alongside Joel Dahmen. The 25-year-old Morikawa has seemingly been on tv for the final decade, however in actuality, this week’s U.S. Open marks solely the eleventh main championship look of his profession.

In his 10 prior such begins, Morikawa captured startling milestones together with a win in his PGA Championship debut and one other in his Open Championship debut final summer time at Royal St. George’s. A once-in-a-lifetime begin to a profession will be made much more memorable with a victory at The Nation Membership.

Three main wins in 11 begins could be unprecedented given the expertise depth within the recreation of golf — for reference: Jordan Spieth wanted 19 outings to get his three — and the power to win these majors in three utterly completely different settings would make it all of the extra spectacular feat. Make no mistake, although: Morikawa is in for a battle over the ultimate 36 holes with names like McIlroy, Rahm and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler all inside shouting distance. 

Whereas this occasion wouldn’t be like his final two triumphs as Morikawa has but to command a 36-hole lead in his main profession — add that to his listing of accomplishments — and a few might proceed to doubt his placing or his inexplicable insecurity in his iron play, historical past suggests Morikawa will probably be simply positive.

T1. Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen (-5): Final 12 months, Morikawa could not determine the turf in Scotland. He went on to win The Open Championship. This 12 months, he’s unable to hit his patented fade along with his irons. Lo and behold, he’s proper within the combine for his third main title. Not solely would he proceed his unbelievable tempo on golf’s largest stage, however with a win, Morikawa could be a Masters victory away from finishing the profession grand slam. Whereas the irons have been good, not nice, he has made his mark along with his efficiency on the greens. He had misplaced strokes along with his putter in each begin for the reason that Masters, and thus far this week at The Nation Membership, he has gained greater than three strokes with the flat stick.

T3. Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Aaron Clever, Hayden Buckley and Beau Hossler (-4): Rahm performed alongside Morikawa the primary two days and was in all probability overshadowed by him. Nonetheless, the defending champion is in an enviable place and has a improbable likelihood to observe within the footsteps of Brooks Koepka by profitable back-to-back U.S. Opens. It’s no shock that Rahm is main the sector in strokes gained off the tee as he’s the most effective on this planet in that division by a substantial margin; nevertheless, the development he has proven across the inexperienced this week has the potential to propel him to a different main triumph.

T8. Scottie Scheffler, Nick Hardy, Matthew NeSmith, Patrick Rodgers and Brian Harman (-3): Carrying the momentum of his birdie-birdie end from Thursday, Scheffler certain regarded just like the world No. 1 on Friday. Whereas it didn’t start with no hitch, the Texan put collectively the most effective method efficiency of his profession from a strokes gained perspective. In the end signing for a 3-under 67, Scheffler will probably be within the dialog come the again 9 on Sunday so long as his brief recreation is ready to mirror his baseline statistical output the remainder of the best way. He at present ranks first in strokes gained method, third in strokes gained tee to inexperienced and sixth in strokes gained off the tee, and he is outdoors the highest 80 each on and across the inexperienced.

Rick Gehman is joined by Kyle Porter and Greg DuCharme to recap Friday’s motion at The Nation Membership. Comply with & take heed to The First Lower on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

T13. Sam Burns, Matt Fitzpatrick, Adam Hadwin and Beau Hossler (-2): Burns was one in every of three gamers to signal for a 67 within the morning wave, and the subsequent logical step in his profession development is weekend rivalry in a serious championship. He can test that off the listing as he’s firmly within the mixture of this championship and will love his possibilities transferring ahead. A 3-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, a victory this week would pull him alongside his good good friend Scheffler on the yearly complete. The LSU product has solely hit 15 fairways by way of the primary two rounds, so he’ll doubtless want to enhance on this division as a way to arrange extra scoring alternatives. 

T16. Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, Davis Riley and 4 others (-1): His U.S. Open resume is improbable on paper, however this presents the most effective alternative up to now for Schauffele. In his 5 prior top-10 finishes, he had but to really contend; nevertheless, with 36 holes remaining, he’s solely 4 strokes off the tempo. The names that he might want to leapfrog are a number of the largest within the recreation, but when there was ever a single occasion by which he might shed the doubt and status surrounding his identify, it’s this week.

T24. Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Brandon Matthews and 4 others (E): Actually spectacular bounce again spherical for the two-time U.S. Open champion as he now has rounds of 73-67 below his belt. Koepka was his typical self with the media after his second spherical because the chip on his shoulder has in some way grown ten-fold. Solely 4 males have crushed him in his final 4 U.S. Open appearances and he has his work lower out for him if he would not need to add considerably to that complete. An enchancment across the inexperienced could be big given it’s the solely space of his recreation which has held him again by way of 36 holes.

T31. Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Joaquin Niemann and 6 others (+1): I can solely think about how pissed off Thomas is after opening his second spherical with a double bogey and finally signing for a 2-over 72. At The Gamers Championship, PGA Championship and now the U.S. Open, the two-time main winner has acquired the brief finish of the stick in terms of the climate bias in a number of the largest occasions of the season. He’s solely six strokes off the lead, and given the firepower in his arsenal, he’s nonetheless on this factor, though there may be now little room for mistake. 

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