Leader Adam Hadwin was scheduled to start in the morning as the second round of the US Open began on Friday, and Rory McIlroy and defending champion John Ram may have to deal with afternoon thunderstorms.
The Canadian Hadwin opened Thursday at The Country Club with four under par 66s, his lowest round of his career at a major, and was one stroke ahead of third-placed McIlroy and four others after 18 holes.
Hadwin, the first Canadian to lead the US Open since Mike Weir in 2009, has never been higher than 24th in his previous 19 big starts, but he hopes to do better when he starts at 8:24 (12:24 GMT) from the 10th tee.
“Choose a target. Remember the number and try to do it. Go find it and hit it again,” Hadwin said of his second-round strategy at 7,254 yards.
“I’ve been doing great with it lately. It’s getting easier as I keep playing better to keep that mentality going.
“There’s a lot of golf left and this course is only going to get harder.”
Hadwin came on as a substitute when England’s Paul Casey withdrew last week with a back injury.
England’s Callum Tarren, Sweden’s David Lingmert, America’s Joel Dahmen and South Africa’s MJ Duffue – just 19 big starts between them – joined four-time big tournament winner McIlroy in second place with a score of 67.
Daffue, in his mainstream debut, didn’t even plan on trying to qualify for the tournament until he secured a seat on the PGA Tour. Now he is the earliest start among the best hunters, having been eliminated in the second group from the first tee.
“Sometimes you have to walk this path to get to the right place,” Duffue said. “I am very happy. I like everything about it.”
Scattered storms and gusty winds are expected in the area with McIlroy and runner-up Rahm set to kick off early afternoon play.
Any delay likely means the cut won’t be made until Saturday and will put the course in a frenzy to try to finish 72 holes by sundown Sunday.
McIlroy, aiming for his first major title since 2014, took the PGA Canadian Open last week. Since 1934, no player has won a week ago and then won the US Open.
The 33-year-old from Northern Ireland hit his 29th major round in the 60s on Thursday. When McIlroy opened consecutive-round majors in the 60s, he won three times.
Masters champion Scotty Scheffler, who was trying to match Tiger Woods as the only world number one to win the US Open, started with 70.
– DJ’s 68 – the best LIV –
Englishman Matt Fitapatrick, sitting in second at 68th, won the 2013 U.S. Amateur at The Country Club. The only player to win the US Open and US Amateur at the same venue was Jack Nicklaus at Pebble Beach.
Also in 68th place with a morning start were Englishman Justin Rose, champion of the US Open 2013, and American Dustin Johnson, champion of the US Open 2016 and Masters 2020.
Johnson had the lowest total of 15 LIV Golf players out of 156, a group that had an over-par 53 in the first round of their first US PGA Tour against talent tournament.
With the richest wallets in golf history, Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf poached players from the PGA Tour, which banned 17 current and former members from its events last week after they played the LIV’s debut tournament in England.
The regular season LIV event offers $25 million in prize money, $7.5 million more than the US Open pays out.
The US Golf Association decided to stick with its qualifying criteria and did not ban LIV Golf players this week, but USGA chief executive Mike Wang warned that such a move is possible in the future.