Ludvig Åberg, playing in his first U.S. Open, leads after two rounds

PINEHURST, N.C. — The U.S. Open is now in the hands of a player who's never teed it up on the weekend in a U.S. Open.

Ludvig Åberg stands atop the leaderboard at the U.S. Open, despite the fact that this is his first U.S. Open. Moreover, he had never even played in a major at all before this year. And yet here he is, taming — or at least surviving — a course that chewed up everyone from Scottie Scheffler to Brooks Koepka to Tiger Woods.

As it turned out, the best way to end up at the top of the leaderboard on Friday was to start there. The Thursday night leaders, Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy, struggled more than Cantlay but are still very much within striking distance. Matthieu Pavon kept pace with Åberg, even holding a share of the lead for much of the afternoon. Bryson DeChambeau rode an up-and-down -1 round to end at -4. Thomas Detry and Tony Finau also lurk amid the top 7, and only DeChambeau and McIlroy have major wins among them all.

The best moment of Friday afternoon happened nowhere near the top of the leaderboard. Francesco Molinari, who had missed the cut in eight of his last 10 majors, drained a hole-in-one on his final hole of the day to make the cut on the number:

So far, Pinehurst hasn't really shown its teeth to the top of the leaderboard. But with scorching temperatures and clear skies in the forecast, the course might — might — get much tougher to manage. At that point, it's debatable who's in better shape to handle that kind of carnage — players who have been here before, or a player who doesn't know what he should fear.

This story is developing and will be updated.

Comments on this article





mobile apps

Everything you love about and more! Tap on any of the buttons below to download our app.

amazon alexa

Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!