Collin Morikawa shares US Open lead as Cam Smith can’t make cut after frustrating second round

Cameron Smith has missed the cut on day two of the US Open, as Collin Morikawa proves top of the American’s fairing best on home soil.

Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa fired a four-under-par 66 to seize the lead late in Friday’s second round of the US Open with Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy one stroke adrift.

Seventh-ranked Morikawa stood on five-under 135 after 36 holes at the Country Club, one stroke ahead of second-ranked defending champion Rahm, third-ranked McIlroy and 259th-ranked American Hayden Buckley.

“No one has taken it deep so far and run away,” Morikawa said. “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 make some separation somehow.”

American Joel Dahmen was still on the 7,254-yard layout on 5-under with three holes remaining.

Hawaii’s Collin Morikawa sits atop the US Open leaderboard, sharing the top at five under with Joel Dahmen. Picture: David Cannon/Getty Images
Hawaii’s Collin Morikawa sits atop the US Open leaderboard, sharing the top at five under with Joel Dahmen. Picture: David Cannon/Getty Images

Morikawa won last year’s British Open and the 2020 PGA Championship and the 25-year-old American could become the first player to win three different majors since Tiger Woods.

“I can’t really talk about what it would be like to win this one. I’ve got to focus on tomorrow,” Morikawa said. “I’ve got to stick to my game plan. I’ve got to make sure I don’t run out of steam... I’ve just got to figure out a way to focus a little bit deeper and really get dialed in for the next 36.” Starting on the 10th tee, Morikawa made birdie putts of 10 feet at the 12th hole, 13 feet at the par-5 14th, 14 feet at the 17th and 33 feet at the first.

After missing the fourth green with his approach to set up his lone bogey, Morikawa answered with a disappointing birdie at the par-5 eighth after dropping his second shot four feet from the cup.

“I knew the tempo was a little off,” Morikawa said. “It just happened to be a putt I didn’t match up. I’m not too worried about it, really.”

Morikawa shot four under in the second round to move into the lead. Picture: David Cannon/Getty Images
Morikawa shot four under in the second round to move into the lead. Picture: David Cannon/Getty Images

McIlroy, who endured a double-bogey disaster at the third hole, sank a 15-foot birdie putt at the 12th, drove the green in two to set up a tap-in birdie at the par-5 14th and sank a 12-foot birdie putt at 17.

McIlroy, chasing his first major title since 2014, comes off a victory in last week’s PGA Canadian Open. Not since 1934 has a player won the week before and then captured the US Open.

Rahm, a back-nine starter, holed a 12-foot eagle putt at par-5 14th, drove the green to set up a birdie at the par-4 fifth and chipped from the rough to set up a tap-in birdie at the eighth.

Buckley, a 26-year-old American developmental tour player, missed the cut in last year’s US Open in his only prior major start Top-ranked Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, with an eagle and two birdies in the last six holes, was in a pack on 137.

“I just stayed real patient,” said Scheffler. “I hit it really good. If a few putts had gone in instead of around, it could have been a really special day.” Canada’s Adam Hadwin, the 18-hole leader after a 66, shot 72 to stand on 138. South Africa’s M.J. Daffue, making his major debut, birdied four of the first seven holes to lead by three, then made three bogeys in five holes on the back nine and closed with a double bogey to finish on 139.

American Cameron Young aced the 165-yard par-3 sixth hole.

Rory McIlroy finished the second round at one shot off the pace. Picture: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy finished the second round at one shot off the pace. Picture: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Mickelson and Smith miss cut

Players Championship winner Cameron Smith was cut from the tournament after a frustrating day two. The Australian, who entered the tournament ranked fifth in the FedEx Cup, finished at four over at 74.

Marc Leishman is the best placed of the remaining Australians, at six shots off the pace.

Six-time major winner Phil Mickelson also missed the cut on 11-over 151. The 52-year-old US lefthander was among 15 rebels from the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series playing against US PGA Tour stars for the first time.

Cameron Smith couldn’t turn around his disappointing results from the first round. Picture: Rob Carr/Getty Images
Cameron Smith couldn’t turn around his disappointing results from the first round. Picture: Rob Carr/Getty Images

LIV players were a combined 53-over on Thursday and 25-over late on Friday. With the richest purses in golf history, LIV Golf has lured players from the PGA Tour, which banned 17 current and former members last week after they played LIV’s debut event in England.

A regular-season LIV event offers $25 million in prize money, $7.5 million more than the US Open pays.

The US Golf Association decided to stay with its Open qualifying criteria and didn’t ban LIV Golf players.

-Additional reporting by Tilly Werner

Tilly Werner
Tilly WernerContent producer

Tilly Werner is an emerging talent in the sports journalism world with a particular focus on AFL, Football (Soccer), Basketball and Disability Sports. With a Graduate Diploma in Sports Management (UTS) and a Bachelor of International Studies (UNSW), Tilly’s writing pursuits extend beyond just the game, exploring the stories behind the athletes and their connection to the world around them. Tilly also has a distinguished career in Athletics and currently sits as Executive Director on the Board of NSW Goalball. Influencing her writing style is an extensive career writing for NFP charities, sporting organisations, and the NSW Parliament. Tilly is currently writing and producing for CODE Sports at News Corp Australia.