US Open: Brooks Koepka will still have big say at Pebble Beach
Last Updated: 15/06/19 6:40am
Rob Lee reflects on an impressive start to the US Open for Rory McIlroy and looks at why Brooks Koepka is still in the hunt for a third straight win.
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It's been an amazing first couple of days and there are so many big names with potential big stories to come over the weekend. It looked like Rose's seven under would be enough for top spot, but a late surge from Gary Woodland gave him the advantage.
Rose was pretty steady although wasn't playing quite like he would want to from tee-to-green, while McIlroy played some wonderful stuff to stay in touch with the lead.
McIlroy only had two bad holes all day and did sensationally to bounce back from bogeying the 13th and double-bogeying the par-five next. That was the pivotal point of his round, as it could have gone completely the other way and turned into a disaster after those dropped shots.
To birdie the 15th and 16th was brilliant and then he was unlucky not to make another at the 17th. He may be slightly disappointed to finish with two pars, but would he have taken breaking 70 twice? Absolutely he would.
You could argue that McIlroy's round could have been lower but he has only got a few people in front of him and can absolutely win this championship, especially with the confidence of last week's record-breaking win in Canada.
What I liked about Koepka is that he didn't have the ball-striking round he wanted on Thursday and fixed that, to the point where he said he wouldn't have taken one shot back that he hit on Friday.
The putter hasn't warmed up yet and if it does get going over the weekend then we could be looking at a three-time consecutive winner of the US Open. He sits on four under and I still really believe that Koepka will have a big say here at Pebble Beach over the final 36 holes.
Dustin Johnson never dropped his head despite seeming to miss almost every birdie chance he had. We've seen 65s from a couple of players this week and if he shoots that on Saturday then all of a sudden he is there with an opportunity.
I think he has ghosts to lay to rest here after his loss to Graeme McDowell when the tournament was held here in 2010, where he had opportunities to win and didn't come up with the goods. It will be interesting to see if he uses the same putter, because he really needs to get it hot on the greens over the weekend.
Woodland tops the leaderboard and has got to treat this like a normal golf tournament, like all players that perform well in the majors tend to do. The people that come to these events and do something different usually come unstuck, so it's better to pretend like it's a regular PGA Tour event.
The only way the golf course will change dramatically is if it either got really windy or really sunny, which it isn't forecast to do. The weekend should be very exciting, even if the conditions stay exactly the same over the next couple of days.
Watch the US Open throughout the weekend on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday from 7pm on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event.