BETHESDA, Md. – Two months ago, Rory McIlroy squandered a four-shot lead in the final round of the Masters.
McIlroy fired a 68 on Saturday at Congressional to move to 14 under par – a number never before reached at a U.S. Open. He’s eight strokes ahead of 2009 PGA champ Y.E. Yang and nine up on Jason Day and Lee Westwood, who matched the day’s low rounds of 65.
His lead isn’t the largest ever in a major, though – Tiger Woods and Henry Cotton own that distinction at the 2000 U.S. Open and 1934 British Open, respectively. But McIlroy has been nearly flawless this week with the only blemishes in 54 holes one bogey and one double bogey.
BETHESDA, Md. -- As Rory McIlroy prepares to tee off in the third round of the U.S. Open, we put a question to you:
Will Rory be the leader after 54 holes?
He tees off leading Y.E. Yang by six and by eight over Zach Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day, Fredrik Jacobson. Johnson birdied the first hole to get to 3 under, while Stenson is there after eight holes, Jacobson after nine and Day after 10.
We already know McIlroy’s six-stroke lead ties Tiger Woods in 2000 at Pebble Beach for the largest 36 hole lead and Woods went on to win by 15 shots over Ernie Els. In the other majors, record 36-hole leaders have won five of six times.
Tell us what you think.
The third round is in full swing from Congressional, where the final pairing of Rory McIlroy and Y.E. Yang is scheduled to tee off at 3:50 p.m. ET. Will Yang chase down McIlroy the way he did Tiger Woods at the 2009 PGA Championship, or will McIlroy add to his already large lead? Discuss it all here.
BETHESDA, Md. – After lightning in the area ended the second round prematurely Friday evening, 21 players returned to Congressional on Saturday morning to finish things off.
With a TV broadcast scheduled on NBC from 2-8 p.m., tee times for the third round didn’t begin until 10:10 a.m. and Rory McIlroy and Y.E. Yang aren’t scheduled to leave the first tee until 3:50 p.m.
Unfortunately, the weather forecast isn’t great with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms arriving around 5 p.m. Sunday’s broadcast runs from 1:30-7:30 p.m. and there is a 50 percent chance of inclement weather in the afternoon.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- Y.E. Yang wasn't trying to chase Rory McIlroy on Friday during the second round of the U.S. Open. He just wanted to play his own game.
The strategy worked out pretty well for the steady Korean, too. About 45 minutes after McIlroy shot 66 to move to 11 under, Yang teed off, trailing the Northern Irishman by eight strokes.
When he finished off his 68 Friday evening, though, Yang had closed the gap to six strokes. Yes, it tied for the largest 36-hole deficit in U.S. Open history -- but Yang had another stat to dwell on that he liked much better.
The two-time PGA TOUR winner trailed Tiger Woods by six strokes in 2009 at the midway point of the PGA Championship. And guess what? Yang made up that deficit and became the only player to ever come from behind and beat Woods at a major.
"Thanks for reminding me," Yang said to a reporter after his round. "I think that would be a good experience to bring up ... (I will) probably remind myself tomorrow morning again about that. It's definitely a pleasant memory, so I think it'll only do me more help than harm if I remember that going into tomorrow's game."
Yang said he watched some of the TV broadcast on Friday morning and saw how well McIlroy was playing. In some ways, though, what Yang called a "daunting task" became easier because the deficit was so large when he teed off.
"If it was a stroke or two strokes or three strokes ahead, then maybe it would have added a lot more pressure for me to try and get close to him or at least not lengthen or widen the gap," Yang said. "But it being such a big gap in the first place, I just didn't really mind what Rory ended up with. I didn't even know his score when I teed off. So I just played my game.
"It actually enabled me to concentrate on my own game, so secretly I'm very happy that I had another under par round."
Yang actually made up a 10-stroke deficit against Seung-Yul Noh in the final round of last year's Korean Open. So he knows anything can happen, and the U.S. Open is only going to get tougher as the weekend progresses.
"I know it's sort of a different kind of level of golf tournament, but still, there are many amazing things that happen in golf," Yang said.
BETHESDA, Md. – The suspense is over. Rory McIroy has tied Tiger Woods with the record for the largest lead at the midway point of the U.S. Open.
Five players are tied at 2 under. Of the group, Matt Kuchar was the low man on Friday with a 68 while Zach Johnson shot 68, Robert Garrigus and Brandt Snedeker posted 70s and Sergio Garcia had an even-par 71.
The cut is projected to come at 4 over and right now would include 71 players.
BETHESDA, Md. -- The second round is starting to wind down -- bad weather held up play for just over 40 minutes earlier in the day -- and still no one has been able to come close to catching leader Rory McIlroy and his 11-under total.
Y.E. Yang had the best chance, but as he finishes up on the 18th he’s still six shots back.
Others in contention -- if you could being nine shots back in contention -- include Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar, among others. They’re tied for third at the moment but as mentioned are well back.
At the other end of the board, a number of notables are fighting to make the cut or are already outside it.
The cut is at 4 over. Among those on the wrong side of that number are Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Paul Casey and Nick Watney, to name a few.
Meawhile, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott and Anthony Kim are all right on the number as they finish their rounds. Stay tuned.
BETHESDA, Md. – Y.E. Yang has just cut into Rory McIlroy’s lead again with a 6-foot birdie putt at the 15th hole.
The Korean, who won the PGA Championship in 2009, is now 5 under and six strokes behind the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland. The largest 36-hole lead ever at the U.S. Open is the six-shot advantage Tiger Woods held in 2000 at Pebble Beach.
Matt Kuchar just birdied the par-5 ninth hole, his 18th of the day, to shoot 68 and move to 2 under for the tournament. Heath Slocum finished at 1 under while U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III is 1 under for the tournament with three holes remaining.
The happiest player just off the course, though, has to be Marcel Siem. The 30-year-old German just matched McIlroy’s 66 – and while it didn’t get him in the hunt, the round of 5 under did enable Siem to make the cut. He shot 79 in the first round.
BETHESDA, Md. – Y.E. Yang has just bounced back from his only bogey of the day with a birdie at the 12th hole to return to 5 under for the tournament.
He now trails Rory McIlroy by six strokes with six holes remaining – and EPSN plans to stay with the broadcast until the Korean finishes his round. The telecast was originally scheduled to end at 7 p.m. but ESPN decided on the bonus coverage after Friday’s 42-minute weather delay.
Heath Slocum continues to play well -- he’s 2 under with five holes remaining. And Ryan Palmer has made three straight birdies to get back to 2 under. He’s playing the 18th, his ninth of the day.
BETHESDA, Md. -- With nine holes to go, Y.E. Yang has trimmed two shots off Rory McIlroy's early eight-shot lead.
Yang, the 2009 PGA champ, birdied the seventh and ninth holes to get to 5 under for the tournament. Heath Slocum is also making a move in the afternoon, making the turn at 2 under for the day and the event.
Two members of the Big Three pairing have tucked themselves just inside the cutline, as well.
Lee Westwood is 2 under for the day and in a big group along with Luke Donald at 2 over for the week. Donald, who ranks No. 1 in the FedExCup and the world rankings, is currently 1 under for the day.
Martin Kaymer is struggling, though. He's 1 over for the day and 4 over for the tournament. The projected cut is currently 3 over.