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US Open: Exasperated Scottie Scheffler tosses and slams clubs but squeezes into weekend as Ludvig Aberg edges ahead

By Jack Bantock, CNN

(CNN) — Many have waxed lyrical about the might of Pinehurst No. 2 across its 117-year history, but on Friday the North Carolina course received perhaps its greatest appraisal yet: it made Scottie Scheffler look human.

After exercising a vice-like grip over the golfing realm with an impassive coolness for months on end, the world No. 1’s unflappable brilliance finally buckled during the second round of the 124th US Open on Friday.

Scheffler’s run of 168 rounds with at least one birdie went skidding off the sides of Pinehurst’s fiendishly firm and fast greens as he toiled to a four-over par 74, compounding an opening 71.

“Yesterday I felt like I did a great job. Today I just couldn’t get the putts to fall,” Scheffler told reporters after his round.

“This golf course can be unpredictable at times, and maybe it got the better of me the last couple days. I’ll sit down and think about where we’re going the last few days and figure it out.”

How damaging those two days were to Scheffler’s hopes of a sixth win in nine starts was merely a secondary consideration: at five-over overall, the overwhelming tournament favorite arrived at the clubhouse admitting he did not expect to return for the final 36 holes.

By the skin of his teeth, Scheffler avoided missing the weekend at a major for the first time since 2022 as another day of high scoring saw the cut line fall at five-over par, edging through the 27-year-old and a host of other relieved stars.

‘Maybe the worst golf shot I think I’ve ever seen you hit’

It made for an anxious wait after a morning that brimmed with frustration for the typically unflustered Texan.

Having started from the 10th tee, Scheffler tossed his putter into the air in exasperation after his par-saving effort at the 15th hole curled away at the death, resigning him to a first bogey of the day.

When his opening drive at the 17th veered left, Scheffler muttered to himself in the second person: “Maybe the worst golf shot I think I’ve ever seen you hit.”

After a repeat outcome at the subsequent tee box, he slammed his driver on the ground before picking up his tee and throwing it.

Despite those errors, the reigning Masters champion generally drove well throughout but struggled on and around the greens, his woes peaking during a disastrous double bogey at the par-five fifth hole. His third shot was an attempted chip onto the green from the native area that gained him mere inches, as his ball caught a slope and rolled back to his feet.

Scheffler’s subsequent effort left him even further away from the hole, skipping past the flag and over the other side of the green. There were still a few grains of salt left to rub into the wound, as Scheffler’s putt to escape with a bogey came up four inches short.

Incredibly, playing partner and last month’s PGA Championship victor Xander Schauffele endured an almost identical series of unfortunate events for a double bogey of his own, his ball rolling back to him before skidding well past the cup on the next attempt.

The world No. 2 put his own frustrations into words candidly after returning to the clubhouse.

“That pissed me off,” Schauffele, who shot one-under 69 to climb into a share of ninth at one-under overall, told reporters.

Aberg nudges ahead

Though Schauffele remains within striking distance, Scheffler finds himself 10 shots behind Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg, who tops the leaderboard by a stroke at five-under par overall after shooting 69.

The 24-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise and continues to impress in his first ever US Open appearance and just his third career major outing, having finished second on his Masters debut in April.

“It’s not something that I’m thinking about all the time, but sometimes I have to stop for a little bit and think about how fortunate I am to be able to do this at this level,” world No. 6 Aberg told reporters.

“To be able to play these tournaments, to be able to play with the guys that I’ve watched on TV for such a long time is definitely a pinch-me moment.”

Belgium’s Thomas Detry, as well as American duo Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay, lead the chasing pack, with Rory McIlroy – bidding to end a 10-year wait for his fifth major crown – a stroke behind the trio.

Woods uncertain on open future

A host of big names fell foul of the cut line, including two of the world’s top-10. Viktor Hovland and Max Homa narrowly missed out at six-over overall, while three-time champion Tiger Woods finished one shot behind the duo.

Woods had been competing on a special exemption after failing to qualify for a major for the first time in his professional career, but the 48-year-old showed flashes of his old brilliance as he shot 74 and 73.

The 15-time major champion made it to the weekend at the Masters in April but has now missed the cut at successive majors after falling away at the PGA Championship last month.

He is eligible to play at next month’s Open Championship in Scotland due to his status as a previous winner yet when asked by CNN’s Patrick Snell if he might have played his last US Open, Woods cast doubt on his future at both open tournaments.

“As far as my last Open Championship or US Open Championship, I don’t know what that is. It may or may not be,” Woods told Snell.

“My ball-striking and felt like my putting was good enough to be in contention and I’m not,” he added.

“It’s frustrating because I’m not here to have a chance to win on the weekend.”

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