U.S. Open Round 2 Winners and Losers: Ludvig Aberg Grabs 36-Hole Lead at Pinehurst

Aberg is playing in his first U.S. Open, but that stat hardly seems to matter. Plus, Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods head home early.
Ludvig Aberg holds a one-shot lead through 36 holes at Pinehurst.
Ludvig Aberg holds a one-shot lead through 36 holes at Pinehurst. / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

PINEHURST, N.C. – Day 2 of the 2024 U.S. Open is in the books. We call ’em like we see ’em around here. They are:

Winners

Ludvig Aberg: We learned at the Ryder Cup last fall that he was a star in the making. We learned at Augusta in April that he was ready for a big moment. And we learned on Friday that he’s a good bet to hang in this U.S. Open right to the end, after staring at his name atop the leaderboard for most of the day while grinding out a one-under 69. Yes, it’s his first career U.S. Open, but here’s the stat that really matters: he’s the solo leader heading into the weekend. 

Bryson DeChambeau: He has two rounds in the 60s and he’ll be a fan favorite over the weekend. DeChambeau had an up-and-down second round with four bogeys and five birdles, including one on the 18th to post a 1-under 69. The amazing thing about DeChambeau’s second round was he shot 1-over on the par-5s. That’ll need to change over the weekend but just like Masters and PGA Championship, he’s right there with 36 holes to go.

The Par-5 5th: The easiest hole on the golf course was wicked nasty for Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele. The Nos. 1-2 players in the world got swallowed up, each taking a double bogey after hitting their balls into the native area to the left of the green. Both came up short trying to chip onto the green, only to have their golf balls roll back and into the native area and at their feet. Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy, who was also in the native area after his second shot, whacked his ball out and was able to make par. The lesson: It’s always better to take your medicine than make an even bigger mess. 

Hideki Matsuyama: A hat tip for firing the low round of the day, a 66, to launch himself into the top 10 and right into the thick of it. The former Masters champion is three shots behind Aberg at the halfway pole. 

The People’s Open: Colin Prater, a high school biology teacher and golf coach from Colorado, shot 79 on Thursday and was en route to missing the cut on Friday. But reread the first part of that sentence to remember why, in an era of big-time golf as a closed shop, the U.S. Open is still a national treasure. 

Losers

Scottie Scheffler: We haven’t seen this Scottie Scheffler all season, and you could see the frustration over two days while watching him play. His driver was all over the place. His irons weren’t much better. His putter couldn’t bail him out. After five wins this season while contending in almost every event he didn’t win, he’ll have an unusually early tee time Saturday.

Dustin Johnson: Shot 74-75 to miss the cut, his third trunk-slammer in a four-major span—a first in his career. Much is said about him taking LIV Golf money and perhaps losing an edge, but he’s also turning 40 next week. Will one of golf’s most freakishly talented athletes ever contend in another major?

Brooks Koepka: After a T2 at last year’s Masters and the PGA win, this has been a quiet major season. The big-game hunter was 3 under through 10 holes on Thursday as if to say “remember me?” But he gave all those shots back coming in and followed with a Friday 75, which included a triple bogey at the 3rd hole when he missed the green long from the fairway, putted into a bunker and walked off with 7. 

Tiger Woods: No one expected Woods to win this week, and even seeing him in contention would’ve been a shock. But this MC at this particular U.S. Open — on a relatively flat course under idyllic weather — is another indicator that Woods at this point is who he is: a ceremonial golfer.


Published
Jeff Ritter

JEFF RITTER

Jeff Ritter is the Managing Director of SI Golf. He spent more than a decade at Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine, and in 2020 joined Morning Read to help spark its growth and eventual acquisition by Sports Illustrated in 2022. He's a member of the Golf Writers' Association of America (GWAA) and has covered more than 25 major championships. He helped launch SI Golf Plus Digital, Golf Magazine’s first original, weekly e-magazine, and served as its top editor. He also launched Golf's “Films” division, the magazine’s first long-form video storytelling franchise, and his debut documentary received an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. His writing has earned first-place awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, the MIN Magazine Awards, and the Golf Writers Association of America, among others. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. A native Michigander, he remains a diehard Wolverine fan and will defend Jim Harbaugh until the bitter end.

John Schwarb

JOHN SCHWARB

John Schwarb is the senior golf editor for Sports Illustrated whose career has spanned more than 25 years covering sports. He’s been featured on ESPN.com, PGATour.com, The Golfers Journal and Tampa Bay Times. He’s also the author of The Little 500: The Story of the World's Greatest College Weekend. A member of the Golf Writers Association of America, John is based in Indianapolis.

John Pluym

JOHN PLUYM

John Pluym is the managing editor for NFL and golf content at Sports Illustrated. A sports history buff, he previously spent 10 years at ESPN overseeing NFL coverage. John has won several awards throughout his career, including from the Society of News Design and Associated Press Sports Editors. As a native Minnesotan, he enjoys spending time on his boat and playing golf.