Monday July 22nd, 2024 2:09PM

DeChambeau in the mix at another major and shares early 36-hole US Open lead with Detry

By The Associated Press

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — Bryson DeChambeau was in contention again in a major, this time using his putter more than his power Friday to get through a roller-coaster day at Pinehurst No. 2 for a 1-under 69 to share the early 36-hole lead in the U.S. Open with Thomas Detry.

Rory McIlroy couldn't make a putt — he did chip in for par — and scratched out a 72 to remain very much in the mix as the toughest test in golf added another element.

The heat index was pushing 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) by mid-afternoon with Patrick Cantlay and Ludvig Aberg trying to stay in front and Tiger Woods hoping to make the cut and stick around for two more days.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler had his first round without a birdie in just over two years, a 74 that left him doubtful of making the cut. All that was giving him hope was a course that was relentless as ever with Donald Ross greens that resemble upside-down saucers, sandy landscapes instead of rough and a premium on par.

DeChambeau was all over the place — three times following a a birdie with a bogey, saving plenty of pars with putts in the 5-foot range and finishing on a high note with a wedge into tap-in range for birdie on the 18th.

“All in all, was very happy with how I stayed patient, gave myself good opportunities when they mattered, and I made a lot of clutch putts coming in,” he said.

Detry was the first player to reach 6 under at any point — Cantlay and Aberg later matched that early in their afternoon rounds — until dropping shots on the sixth and eighth holes toward the end of his round.

They set the target at 4-under 136 — DeChambeau had a hunch that score to par might end up being the winner this week — for the afternoon wave that faced the worst of the heat.

Both are coming off good performances in the majors.

Detry tied for fourth at the PGA Championship last month, a result that assures his first trip to the Masters next year. The 34-year-old Belgian, who played his college golf at Illinois, has yet to win on a main tour around the world. That looks to be a matter of time.

“I always tend to do better at courses where pars gain on the field. I feel like this week, you make a par, you gain on the field, keep moving on. I always seem to do better that way,” Detry said. “It puts a little bit less pressure on my putting. When I have a birdie chance, it’s like a bonus. I’ve done a great job of taking advantage of it today.”

DeChambeau, who won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2020, led after the first round of the Masters and tied for sixth. He lost by one shot at the PGA Championship when Xander Schauffele made a 6-footer for birdie on the final hole at Valhalla.

DeChambeau now has been in the top 10 nine of his last 10 rounds in the majors this year, the exception being the first round at Valhalla.

McIlroy was rarely out of position but couldn't get a putt to fall, and he was in danger of his round getting away from him around the midway point. Already 2 over for the day, his tee shot on the par-3 17th was toward the back of a green that had a front pin. His gentle stroke was still too hard, and it rolled all the way back into the fairway. He chipped that in for par, and then finally cashed in with a wedge to 3 feet on No. 3.

“I felt like I did a pretty good job at keeping some of the mistakes off the scorecard,” McIlroy said. “I wish I had converted a couple more of the chances. Hit the ball pretty well. I think only missed one fairway. So I had plenty of opportunities. Yeah, wasn’t quite as good with the putter today. Still overall in a great position going into the weekend.”

Hideki Matsuyama delivered the best score of the second round, a bogey-free 66 that put him at 2-under 138 going into the weekend. Another shot behind was Schauffele, who had a 69 despite a bogey-bogey start and a double bogey on the par-5 fifth hole.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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