PGA: Phenom Ludvig Aberg takes over top spot at U.S. Open

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Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg has been the best so far at dealing with the challenging setup at Pinehurst No. 2, but he has completed only half of the task.

Aberg shot 1-under-par 69 to claim a one-shot lead at the U.S. Open after Friday’s second round at Pinehurst, N.C., where the cutline became a hot topic.

Aberg, a 24-year-old former Texas Tech golfer who turned pro last June, is at 5-under 135 midway through the championship. He played a previous U.S. Amateur on the course, so he had an idea of what he was getting into this week.

“I think a U.S. Open is supposed to be hard,” he said. “It’s supposed to be tricky, and it’s supposed to challenge any aspect of your game.”

Bryson DeChambeau, who had five birdies and four bogeys for a 69, and Belgium’s Thomas Detry, who shot 67, are among the golfers one shot back at 4 under. They’re joined by first-round co-leader Patrick Cantlay (71), who overcame a double-bogey 6 on No. 8.

Fifteen golfers hold under-par scores through two rounds.

“I’m excited for the test and challenge, and I think it’s going to continue to evolve, especially with the conditions being as hot as they are,” DeChambeau said. “And if the wind picks up, it’s going to be diabolical.”

It was another round with a high degree of difficulty as golfers played on a day with rising temperatures and heat advisories.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler was in danger of missing the cut after a 74. He was part of a long list of golfers at 5 over, directly on the cutline.

“This golf course can be unpredictable at times, and maybe it got the better of me the last couple days,” Scheffler said.

Tiger Woods (73) wasn’t as fortunate, missing the cut. Woods, who shot 74 in the first round, had his only birdie on No. 4, but the three-time U.S. Open champion played the last 14 holes in 4 over to card a 73 and fall to 7 over.

“In order to win a golf tournament, you have to make the cut,” Woods said. “I can’t win the tournament from where I’m at, so it certainly is frustrating. I thought I played well enough to be up there in contention. It just didn’t work out.”

France’s Matthieu Pavon (70) briefly shared the lead before finishing with back-to-back bogeys late in the day and tying for fifth place at 3 under.

First-round co-leader Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland shot 2-over-par 72, dropping a few spots by the time he finished after his morning tee time. He’s tied with Pavon and Tony Finau (69).

McIlroy had two bogeys before hitting his first birdie on No. 3, the 12th hole of his round. He was bogey-free Thursday.

“Overall, 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.”

Scheffler took a double-bogey 7 on No. 5. He hasn’t missed a cut since the 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship, keeping that string alive.

“I’m proud of how I fought today,” Scheffler said. “I gave myself a good chance.”

Cantlay said the importance of staying steady can’t be overstated.

“It’s really important to play from the fairway,” he said. “I got off track on a few holes, and it’s tough to get it back in position.”

Detry made a big move early in the afternoon to climb to 5 under through 14 holes and briefly held the sole lead. With bogeys on two of his last four holes, he relinquished the top spot.

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama had the day’s best round with a bogey-free 66, putting him at 2 under.

“I feel like my short game was on point today,” Matsuyama said. “That really helped my game.”

Xander Schauffele, also starting on the 10th hole, made a move before a double bogey on No. 5 stemmed the momentum. Last month’s winner of the PGA Championship finished with a 69, putting him at 1 under going to the weekend.

Germany’s Martin Kaymer (73), who won the U.S. Open on this course in 2014, is at 3 over and defending champion Wyndham Clark (71) is at 4 over.

Francesco Molinari of Italy shot a 72 that was bolstered by a hole-in-one on the par-3 ninth, which was his finishing hole. That ace left him 5 over for the tournament, allowing him to play the weekend. Sepp Straka of Austria also made a hole-in-one at No. 9.

“To make an ace in a major is pretty cool, but also for the score,” said Straka, who’s at 2 over.

–Field Level Media

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