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10 Notes To Know From Round 2

September 18, 2020 Mamaroneck, N.Y. By Justin Ray
Rafael Cabrera Bello gained 6.15 strokes putting in the second round, the most by any player in the field. (Darren Carroll/USGA)

Here are 10 statistical nuggets from Friday’s Round 2 of the 120th U.S. Open on the West Course at Winged Foot Golf Club:

1. Winged Foot played remarkably tougher on Friday, yielding a Round 2 scoring average of 75.25. The leap of 2.69 average strokes from Round 1 is the largest increase from Round 1 to Round 2 in U.S. Open history. The late half of the draw had it especially difficult, as the afternoon played 1.29 strokes more difficult than the morning.

2. Despite hitting only five fairways for the second day in a row, Patrick Reed shot even-par 70 to take a one-stroke lead into the weekend. Reed, who is second in the field in strokes-gained approach, leads the U.S. Open at the halfway point five years after doing so at Chambers Bay. Reed finished tied for 14th that week.

3. For the first time in his major-championship career, Bryson DeChambeau shot in the 60s in each of the first two rounds. DeChambeau appears to have turned a corner in the majors in 2020, posting a 67.8 scoring average through six rounds this year. From 2015-2019, his scoring average in majors was 72.5. Alone in second place, this is the best 36-hole position in a major for DeChambeau.

4. No player lit up the greens at Winged Foot quite like Rafa Cabrera Bello did on Friday: his 6.15 strokes-gained putting are the most by any player in either of the first two rounds this week. Tied for third place, this is the first time Cabrera Bello has been in the top five through 36 holes of any major championship.

5. Twenty players enter Round 3 on Saturday within six strokes of Patrick Reed. Each of the last 30 major champions has been at or within six of the lead through 36 holes. At the U.S. Open, though, it has been even tougher for chasers: 22 of the last 25 U.S. Open winners were at or within two of the lead after two rounds.

6. Matthew Wolff shot a second-round 74, snapping a streak of five straight rounds in the 60s to begin his major championship career. Wolff is the only player in men’s golf history to begin his career in the majors with five consecutive rounds in the 60s. Wolff is trying to become the first player to win in his U.S. Open debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913 – which was incidentally the last time a U.S. Open was held in September.

7. Xander Schauffele, who is just four shots back, has been one of the best weekend performers in U.S. Open history in his young career. Among players with six or more weekend rounds (Rounds 3 + 4) in the U.S. Open, Schauffele has averaged the third-most strokes gained total per round (3.34), trailing only Bob Jones (4.28) and Brooks Koepka (3.35).

8. Holes 1 and 2 at Winged Foot were a sign of the perils to come on Friday: those two holes played to a scoring average of +1.10, an increase of more than a full stroke over Round 1 (+0.04). The field was just 6 over par on those holes in Round 1; they were a combined 159 over par on Friday.

9. 18-hole leader Justin Thomas shot 73 on Friday, an eight-stroke increase over his Round 1 score of 65. Thomas struggled to keep the ball in the fairway, hitting only three in the second round. It’s the fewest fairways hit in a round in Thomas’ major-championship career.

10. A pair of legends will not be among those competing this weekend: both Tiger Woods (+10) and Phil Mickelson (+13) missed the cut. This is the first time that Woods and Mickelson have both missed the cut in the same U.S. Open. Winged Foot is now the first major-championship venue in which Woods has missed the cut multiple times as a professional (2006 U.S. Open).

Justin Ray is the head of content for 15th Club. He has also worked as a senior researcher at ESPN and Golf Channel.