Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

Ludvig Aberg leads by one ahead of a thrilling weekend at the US Open.

Aberg, making his tournament debut, remains on course to become the first rookie winner of the US Open in 111 years after a second round 69 moved him to five-under par.

But a host of big names are queueing up behind the flying Swede. Bryson DeChambeau, Thomas Detry and Patrick Cantlay are all one back at four-under, with Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau and Matthieu Pavon a shot further adrift at minus three.

Here are seven things we learned on day two at the US Open…

It’s Ludvig Aberg’s time (already)

What will it take to fluster him? Certainly not a US Open debut at one of its most demanding venues. Aberg followed up his Thursday morning 66 with an equally impressive 69 in the more difficult afternoon conditions on Friday, where the course dried out and the greens were lighting fast.

We knew it already, but this Swedish phenomenon has the lot. The crunching drives, the flawless swing, the touch around the greens, the unflappable temperament. Everything. Rich Beem claimed this week that it’s just a matter of time before Aberg is “ruling the world” as No.1. Whether he gets it done this week or not, it’s hard to disagree.

• Tiger Woods raises doubts over major championship future

• Tyrrell Hatton reveals how much he’s been fined for his outbursts

Tiger is reaching the end

“It may or may not be.”

That was the response of Tiger Woods when asked if this would be his last US Open. He also confirmed he has one tournament left this season – so we don’t know when we’ll see him after next month’s Open at Royal Troon.

Whichever way you look at it, the end is nigh for one of the game’s true icons. His +7 aggregate through two rounds at Pinehurst was no disgrace at all. In fact, he played well in large periods. But Woods’ ailing body will simply not allow him to put in the extra reps he needs in between the majors, which provide the ultimate test. The 48-year-old has always said he won’t bother teeing it up if he cannot win and he sounded like a man defeated after the MC in North Carolina. Could we soon be about to see his final goodbye?

Bryson DeChambeau
Bryson DeChambeau is in the mix without his best form (Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images)

Bryson DeChambeau isn’t at his best…

Yet. And the rest of the field can take that as a warning. DeChambeau was imperious of the tee on Thursday, but relied on his scrambling to keep his score in the red on day two.

When asked after his one-under 69 if he can take things up another level, he replied: “Yeah, if I can get everything going together, kind of like I did yesterday, I felt pretty solid with the putter, putts just probably didn’t go in the way they could have.

“But if I get both those components – driving, iron play, putting down, even chipping around the greens — yeah, you’re going to play really good golf, obviously. Look, I’m excited for the game that I have right now. I feel pretty confident and ready to get after it this weekend.”

To watch or not to watch?

Watching the golf coverage on TV before you go out to play in a major championship: help or hindrance? Well, it depends who you ask. For Rory McIlroy, it’s a BIG no.

“I don’t like seeing where other guys are hitting it,”McIlroy said after his second round 72. “I particularly don’t like when I can watch people hit putts on greens because then, whenever I have a similar putt on the golf course, I’m going off the memory of what I think I saw on TV instead of seeing it with my own eyes. I’d rather just not have that option at all.”

• ‘I’m not Rory’ – Brooks Koepka hits back after refusing US Open interviews

• Major champion tears into ‘awful’ US Open course

Bryson DeChambeau was also then the same question.

“Oh, yeah, I love it,” the Californian said. “It’s good insight, great information, see how things are playing, where not to be, where to be.”

Two of the game’s most box-office players are finely poised heading into the final 36 holes.

Molinari unlocks the new best way to make the cut

This was looking like a pretty forgettable tournament for Francesco Molinari before he walked onto the ninth tee on Friday evening. Two shots off the cut mark, the former Open champ then conjured up a magical ace on the par-3 to make the weekend on the number. A magical moment for the affable Italian – which have been few and far between on the course in recent years.

Dustin Johnson: A major force no longer

The worst thing you can say about Dustin Johnson is that he is danger of becoming irrelevant in the big time events. The two-time major champion’s second round 75 at Pinehurst – which included a triple bogey six on the ninth – proved painful viewing. Johnson has not had a woeful season by any means, winning on LIV Golf’s first visit to Las Vegas in February.

But his three major starts this season read MC-T43-MC. The clock is ticking on his five-year major exemption from his Masters win in 2020 and Johnson’s game is a world away from when he was one of the most feared players in the sport. His new LIV schedule has drastically changed his run-up to the majors and you have to wonder if that is impacting his chances in the ‘Big Four’.

It’s just not working for Justin Thomas

On Thursday evening, Tiger Woods was found back on the range, rather than in the ice baths, observing the swing of his good friend Justin Thomas.

GOLF.com‘s James Colgan even spotted Woods giving Thomas some tips. Of course, the mere suggestion that Woods would help a fellow competitor midway through a major tournament would have been preposterous at his pomp. But this is his new reality.

Regardless, Thomas was facing an uphill battle already after Thursday’s 79 – and Woods couldn’t provide the magic touch. After his 74 on Friday, the two-time major champ has now missed five of his last seven major cuts.

topics


author headshot

Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses