US Open Halfway Hut: The stats that point to another Collin Morikawa Major win

News, stats, quotes and social after 36 holes at Brookline where the Open champion shares the lead following a Friday 66.

When Collin Morikawa started his US Open bid on Thursday with a 1-under-par 69, stats guru Justin Ray tweeted that it was just the third time the American had opened a Major with a round in the 60s.

The significance of that? Well, On both those occasions, last year's Open Championship and the 2020 PGA Championship, Morikawa went on to win.

With the leaderboard bunched, Morikawa's 69 seemed more a good omen than a great predictor but here we are after two rounds of the 122nd US Open and he's tied for the halfway lead with Joel Dahmen.

Morikawa made his move with a superb 4-under 66 in tough conditions at The Country Club on Friday.

It's the fifth time he's scored 66 or better in a Major and, guess what, the first four all came en route to victory.

He shot a 64 and 65 when capturing the 2020 PGA and a 64 and a 66 when lifting the Claret Jug at Royal St George's last summer.

Surprisingly, this is the first time Morikawa has held a 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

You probably don't need to guess what happened on the other occasion. Yep, he went on to win. That was at the 2020 Workday Charity Open.

Call them stats, omens or coincidences but they're starting to pile up as Morikawa bids to emulate Brooks Koepka in 2017, 2018 and 2019 by winning a Major in three consecutive years.

It's easy to say he won't given that Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy are just a shot back on 4-under and Scottie Scheffler two adrift at 3-under.

But there are compelling reasons to think that Morikawa is the man to beat even if the leaderboard is packed.

More Stats

Four players this season have successfully defended a title, including McIlroy last week at the RBC Canadian Open. Rahm would become the fifth.

No player since WWII has won the US Open after winning on Tour the week before. A bad omen for McIlroy.

Since the World Ranking system began in 1986, the only reigning No. 1 to win the US Open is Tiger Woods, who did it three times.

The top seven players on the leaderboard all had early/late tee-times. That wave averaged 1.6 shots better than the late/early tee-times.

Cameron Young made a hole-in-one at No. 6, his first career ace on the PGA Tour.

Harris English (+2/T40) extended his streak of consecutive cuts made in Majors to 15, the longest active streak of any player.

After two rounds, Morikawa ranks 23rd for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee, 27th Approach, 9th Around The Greens, 7th Tee To Green and 13th SG Putting.

Rahm ranks 1st Off The Tee, 44th Approach, 20th Around The Greens, 13th Tee To Green and 14th Putting.

McIlroy ranks 20th Off The Tee, 19th Approach, 62nd Around The Greens, 38th Tee To Green and 1st Putting.

Scheffler ranks 4th Off The Tee, 1st Approach, 52nd Around The Green, 4th Tee To Green and 50th Putting.

Quotes

A look at what some of the leading contenders said after Friday's action...

Collin Morikawa (66, -5)

"Today was just maybe slightly off in timing, but hopefully that was kind of the bad one out of the way swing-wise and we'll be back on tempo come the next two.

(On his play). "It's been the same over the past two days, and hopefully we can continue that for the next two."

Jon Rahm (67, -4)

"Very, I'll say, satisfied with today's round. Played good golf, and I think the key moment today was adding to the one on 10 with 15 or 17. Those three par putts in a row, all of them with some length to it, was key to keeping the round going.

"And even though I bogeyed 1, finishing the last eight holes as good as I did was very important, so going in [to the weekend] with a lot of confidence."

Rory McIlroy (69, -4)

"After 36 holes in a major championship, that's all you want to do is put yourself right in the mix going into the weekend. For a little part of the day there, it seemed like I was going to be a few more behind, but I dug deep and played the last eight holes really, really well.

"That was the goal. After I bogeyed 10, I just wanted to try to shoot under par. I had some chances coming up. Just played a really clean eight holes, which was pleasing. Hit fairways, hit greens, gave myself chances. Got myself right back in the tournament."

Scottie Scheffler (67, -3)

"I just stayed really patient. I was hitting it good pretty much most of the day. Two silly bogeys early in the round, but outside of that I hit it really good. I was in position most of the day.

"If a few more putts would have fallen in versus around the edge, it would have been a really special day. But 3-under was a good score for me, especially being 2-over through 6."

Matt Fitzpatrick (70, -2)

"Played really, really well. Three of my four bogeys were all three-putts, so that's kind of sums up the day. Just didn't putt well enough today.

"I feel like I've left a couple out there, which to say in a US Open is pretty rare, but it is positive going into the weekend."

Social

Ace for Young!

Eagle time for Rahm

Daffue off the deck!

Dahmen drains one

Schauffele reads it perfectly

READ MORE: Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen share US Open lead, but Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm maintain challenge

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