Marc Leishman in action this week – photo Kathryn Riley USGA
Marc Leishman has emerged as the leading Australasian after the completion of day two of the US Open at the Country Club, Brookline outside of Boston.
Leishman’s late birdie at the 17th eased him clear of fellow countrymen Adam Scott and Todd Sinnott to lead them by one and at 1 over for the championship he finds himself in a share of 31st place but just six off the 36 hole lead held by Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen.
Leishman’s strong finish on Thursday and his solid, if unspectacular, effort today leave him well placed to make further progress over the weekend and perhaps record his first top ten in eleven starts at the US Open.
Scott added second round of 73 to finish at 2 over and seven from the lead while Sinnott added a second consecutive 71 to complete an impressive start to his first major championship to share 40th position with Scott.
Scott’s round of was a roller coaster of sorts with four bogeys and a double bogey, the highlight being a 40 foot curling putt for birdie at his 13th hole to get himself back to even par before a bogey at his 16th, a missed opportunity for birdie at the 17th and another bogey at the last, left him in a share of 38th place.
Perhaps the talk of the nine strong Australasian brigade however should be of 30 year old Victorian Todd Sinnott.
Playing in his first major championship and having had to fight his way through a Sectional Qualifier in Japan to get there, Sinnott’s round today was highlighted by an eagle at his 17th hole (the 8th) which came at a time when he was heading for a potential missed cut after a series of bogeys.
His effort to be around for the weekend, only seven shots from the lead and behind just one of the Australasians, all of whom were higher ranked than him, is an effort that deserves respect and was made even more impressive by the fact that he got the perhaps tougher side of the draw.
Min Woo Lee’s round was highlighted by an eagle at his 17th hole (the 8th) and came at a perfect time as he was outside the cutline at the time. Lee, finished at 3 over and is in 53rd place and right on the cutline which fell at 3 over after the conditions improved for the afternoon field.
Of the other Australasians Ryan Fox did his best to recover from an opening 74 and nearly did so, but his round of 71 saw him fall two short of the cutline.
Cameron Smith who came into the event as one of the favourites and certainly the Australasian most expected to do well. The world # 6 need something special to get back into contention after his opening 72 but instead he went the wrong way early in today’s round and was 3 over through six holes and was unable to build momentum.
After a good driving round yesterday, Smith hit only 6 of 14 fairways today and that proved to be his nemesis as he fell three short of making the weekend.
New Zealand’s Danny Lee was unable to build on the momentum of last week’s top ten in Canada and finished six shots from the cutline after rounds of 76 and 75.
Victorian, Lucas Herbert, appeared unable to recover from a horror triple bogey at his final hole on Thursday and when he returned to the course early today he played his front nine in 42 and his week was all but over. He finished with 79 which was disappointing given his growing standing in the game and his impressive week at the PGA Championship a month ago.
Queenslander, Jed Morgan, was playing his first major championship and after the unsettling start he made with an opening round of 82 on Thursday he did well to record a round of 74 today, more especially his back nine of 33 will have him leaving The Country Club in much better spirits than was the case 24 hours ago.
The leaders Morikawa and Dahmen have broken clear of a large group which includes Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm while world number one Scottie Scheffler rebounded from an opening even par round to produce one of the best morning rounds today to keep alive his chances of adding this title to that of The Masters he won in April.
A massive 39 players are within six hots of the leaders however, no doubt all of them believing they have a chance to be in the mix on Sunday.
Collin Morikawa (pictured) leads along with Joel Dahmen – photo Robert Beck USGA