Rory McIlroy will need to find his touch on the tricky Chambers Bay greens if he is to mount any sort of challenge at the US Open. The World Number One is nine shots behind leaders Patrick Reed and Jordan Speith following his second successive 72 on Friday evening.
McIlroy had clawed his way back into the frame midway through his second round with an eagle at the par four 12th but he finished poorly to end the day on four over. Graeme McDowell missed the weekend on eight over after a second 74 while Darren Clarke endured a horror day, signing for an 80 that left him on 17 over.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry was relishing being in contention for a maiden major title after making the cut in the US Open for the first time on Friday.
Lowry added a second round of 70 to his opening 69 at Chambers Bay to reach halfway at one under par, four shots off the clubhouse leaders.
“I was going along nicely and missed a great chance on 12,” Lowry said after a round containing three birdies, one bogey and a double bogey. “I thought if I hit a great putt there to get to three under for the tournament I would have been cruising.
“Then I felt I got unlucky on 14 and just pulled my second shot. Got an awful lie in the bunker and ended up making double from there.
“I hit a great shot into 15, great shot into 16 (without making birdie) and made a great putt for par for 17 from 10 feet. That was massive in regards to the whole round and then I went on to birdie the last, which was nice.
“It was one of those days that I’m quite happy with. It could have been a little bit better, but I’m in a great position for the weekend.
“The good thing for me is I’m feeling a bit more comfortable on the greens. Not 100 per cent, but I’m liking what I’m doing and liking the way I’m hitting my putts.” Rory tees off at 5.53pm (GMT), while Shane gets underway at 9.44pm (GMT)