Adam Long will take a two-shot advantage into the final round of the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship after surging to the top of the leaderboard.

American golfer Long carded a flawless eight-under-par 64 to claim the lead through three rounds in the Dominican Republic on Saturday.

Long started the penultimate day three strokes behind overnight leader Hudson Swafford at Corales Golf Club in Punta Cana.

But Long, who is eyeing his second PGA Tour title after winning last year's Desert Classic, used eight birdies to catapult himself from a tie for fifth position to outright first at 17 under overall.

Swafford is second through 54 holes following his three-under-par 69, a shot ahead of Canada's Mackenzie Hughes (67), while Zhang Xinjun (68) is 13 under.

Nate Lashley (65) and Sean O'Hair (70) are five strokes off the pace and tied for fifth.

Hudson Swafford opened up a two-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship on Friday.

The American fired a five-under 67 in the second round in the Dominican Republic to move into 12 under.

Swafford, who has missed six cuts in 11 events this year, mixed seven birdies with two bogeys to be on track for a second PGA Tour win and first since 2017.

He is two shots clear of countrymen Sean O'Hair (67), Luke List (65) and Justin Suh (67).

Runner-up last year, Mackenzie Hughes is again in contention after shooting a 67 to be tied for fifth at nine under.

The Canadian is alongside Adam Long (65), Zhang Xinjun (69) and Sepp Straka (70).

Straka had shared the overnight lead with Swafford, Tyler McCumber and Scott Harrington, the latter duo slipping even further back after shooting 71 and 74 respectively.

Defending champion Graeme McDowell missed the cut after backing up his opening-round 70 with a one-over 73.

This weekend should have seen the 43rd Ryder Cup taking place at Whistling Straits.

Of course, the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the sporting calendar eventually led to the postponement of golf's most prestigious team event.

Team Europe, captained by Padraig Harrington, will instead defend the trophy in a year's time against Team USA, who will be skippered by Steve Stricker.

Here, we take a look at who would have qualified for their respective teams so far if the Ryder Cup were starting on Friday.

TEAM USA:

Qualification process explained:

The PGA of America and team captain Stricker announced a tweak to the qualification process following the pause of the season caused by the pandemic. All points collected since 2019 will continue to stand and the selection criteria will continue to run through the second 2021 FedEx Cup playoff event (the BMW Championship). The top six on the points list will qualify automatically, with Stricker having six captain's picks.

1) Dustin Johnson

A veteran of four Ryder Cups but only one that resulted in an American victory – that coming in 2016 at Hazeltine. Since the PGA Tour resumed, Johnson has been in tremendous form and became champion of the lucrative FedEx Cup.

2) Bryson DeChambeau

A man of unquestionable talent, whose methodical game has not always sat well with pundits and fellow professionals. But after breaking his major duck at the U.S. Open last weekend, even his greatest detractors have to give kudos to DeChambeau, who made his Ryder Cup debut in 2018.

3) Collin Morikawa 

It has been a truly breakout year for 23-year-old Morikawa, who became a major champion by winning the US PGA Championship.  That saw him reach a career-high ranking of fifth (he now sits sixth in the world) and if he can maintain his form, Morikawa will be an exciting Ryder Cup rookie.

4) Brooks Koepka

Injuries have sadly taken a toll on Koepka either side of the coronavirus break but on his day the four-time major winner is unbeatable. A fully fit Koepka, who has appeared at two Ryder Cups, will be a formidable foe for anyone on Team Europe and fans the world over will want to see him firing on all cylinders. 

5) Justin Thomas

Already a major champion by the time he appeared at the 2018 Ryder Cup as a rookie, Thomas was a starring light for a struggling American team as he earned four points on debut. Now established among the game's elite, Thomas will be a main man for Stricker as Team USA aim to regain the trophy.

6) Webb Simpson

A player who has enjoyed a career resurgence and made a third Ryder Cup appearance in 2018 having missed out two years prior. Ranked seventh in the world and with a couple of wins to his name in 2020, Simpson looks a pretty sure bet to play regardless of if he qualifies automatically.

Likely captain's picks?

Stricker has an abundance of talent to choose from and, if qualification ended today, Xander Schauffele would be an almost guaranteed pick. Patrick Reed is next in the standings and, while his talent is undoubted, his seeming struggle to play nicely with others in the team would possibly be a cause of concern for the captain. Tiger Woods is way down in 15th and struggling for form but could a player of his calibre earn a lifeline? The likes of Tony Finau, Daniel Berger and Matthew Wolff would hope to receive a call but Jordan Spieth – down in 25th – needs to find some consistency.

TEAM EUROPE:

Qualification process explained:

For Team Europe, the criteria are different. The process was frozen in July until January, with points earned up until that point remaining valid. The top four in the European points standings qualify, as do the next five highest ranking players on the world points list. Captain Padraig Harrington picks the final three players for the team. Points multipliers may be added to European Tour events closer to the Ryder Cup.

1) Tommy Fleetwood

One half of the 'Moliwood' pairing alongside Francesco Molinari that won hearts, and crucially plenty of points, for a dominant Team Europe in 2018. Fleetwood was in fine form towards the back end of 2019 and the start of 2020 but has struggled since golf returned. Still, with plenty of points accrued and time to find form, Fleetwood looks sure to play.

2) Jon Rahm

Rahm picked up a single point from three matches as a rookie two years ago and will be desperate to make a mark in an event where his Spanish compatriots Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia have become so synonymous. With two wins in 2020 and a brief stop as world number one for the first time, Rahm is now a major European player. 

3) Rory McIlroy

A veteran now of five Ryder Cups, four of which ended in victory, McIlroy will be the leading man in Europe's quest to retain the trophy. He was in flying form prior to lockdown and a top 10 at the U.S. Open suggests McIlroy is again on an upward trajectory.

4) Victor Perez

An outstanding rookie season in 2019, including a win at the Alfred Dunhill Links, has left Perez in a strong position. But struggles in 2020 will have to be solved if he is to be a part of Harrington's team a year from now.

5) Tyrrell Hatton

Having earned a taste of the Ryder Cup two years ago, where he won one point from three matches, Hatton will be desperate to make the team once again. With five top-10s in 2020, including winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he has every chance of doing so.

6) Danny Willett

Having missed seven cuts from his previous 10 events, Willett is a player who will have to raise his game in 2021 to play at a second Ryder Cup.

7) Matthew Fitzpatrick

A rookie during the losing effort in 2016, Fitzpatrick failed to make the team two years ago. At the minute, the Sheffield-born star has his destiny in his own hands. With three top-10s and as many missed cuts in the past six starts, consistency will be key.

8) Lee Westwood

A real veteran of Team Europe, Lee Westwood played in 10 straight Ryder Cups between 1997 and 2016, ending up on the winning side on seven occasions. Even if he fails to make the automatic spots, if he can stay in decent form then his experience could convince Harrington to hand out a captain's pick.

9) Bernd Wiesberger

A three-time European Tour winner in 2019, Wiesberger – who has never played at a Ryder Cup – will be desperate to rediscover that groove to make the team.

Likely captain's picks?

Ryder Cup legends Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter are well off the pace for automatic picks but if either man can hit form at the right time then their experience would likely be too invaluable for Harrington to ignore. Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson are both knocking on the door and would fancy their chances of making the team without the need of a hand from Harrington.

Sepp Straka is among four players tied for the one-stroke lead following the opening round of the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship.

Straka carded a seven-under-par 65 and he was joined by Scott Harrington, Hudson Swafford and Tyler McCumber atop the leaderboard in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic on Thursday.

A Web.com Tour champion but eyeing his maiden PGA Tour title, Austria's Straka was flawless on day one following an eagle and five birdies at Corales Golf Club.

Straka was the only player among the leaders to go bogey-free through 18 holes heading into Friday's second round.

Zhang Xinjun and Joseph Bramlett are tied for fifth, while Ricky Barnes, Cameron Percy, Justin Suh, David Hearn, Kyle Stanley, Sean O'Hair, Jamie Lovemark, Brian Stuard, Patrick Rodgers and Ryan Brehm are a shot further back.

American Kelly Kraft enjoyed a stunning finish to his round, going eagle-par-eagle – including a walk-off hole-in-one – to reach four under.

Defending champion Graeme McDowell made a solid start but he ended the round five strokes adrift of the leaders.

McDowell had three birdies and a bogey to be level alongside the likes of former Ryder Cup team-mate and 2016 Open Championship winner Henrik Stenson.

Bryson DeChambeau said it was special to join elite company in Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus with his U.S. Open victory.

DeChambeau pulled away for his first major success, winning by six strokes at Winged Foot in New York.

The American, 27, carded a three-under 67 in the final round on Sunday and was the only player to finish under par.

DeChambeau joined Woods and Nicklaus as the only players to win the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open and an individual title at the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship, and it was company the winner was delighted to join.

"It's just an honour. I don't know what else to say. It's been a lot of hard work," he said.

"Mr Nicklaus has been always awesome to me. He gave me a sponsor's invite. Tiger has always been great to me. I can't say thank you enough to them for them helping me push me along to be a better person and a better golfer, as well.

"But to be in the likes of the names of that company is special. I'll forever appreciate that."

As overnight leader Matthew Wolff fell away in the final round, DeChambeau mixed an eagle with two birdies and a bogey.

The pair traded eagles at the ninth and DeChambeau said his 39-foot putt led to him thinking about lifting the trophy.

"It's kind of interesting, on nine is when I first thought, 'Okay, this could be reality'," he said.

"I made that eagle, long eagle putt and I shocked myself by making it, too, and I thought to myself, I could do it. And then immediately after, I said, 'Nope, you've got to focus on each and every hole', and I just kept throughout the course of the back nine telling myself, 'Nope, we've got three more holes, we've got four more holes, we've got five more holes', whatever it was.

"I just had to keep focused, making sure I was executing every shot to the best I possibly could."

Rory McIlroy admitted he was surprised by the manner of Bryson DeChambeau's six-stroke victory at the U.S Open as the former world number one hinted at another big Masters win for the powerful American.

DeChambeau claimed his maiden major crown following a dominant display at Winged Foot, where he carded a final-round 67 to top the leaderboard ahead of overnight leader Matthew Wolff on Sunday.

A topic of discussion on the PGA Tour after his weight gain and smash approach, DeChambeau only hit six fairways on the final day and 23 for the week in New York as he was the only player in the red following 72 holes.

"I don't really know what to say because that's just the complete opposite of what you think a U.S. Open champion does," four-time major champion McIlroy, who finished tied for eighth at six over, told reporters. "Look, he's found a way to do it.

"Whether that's good or bad for the game, I don't know, but it's not the way I saw this golf course being played or this tournament being played. It's kind of hard to really wrap my head around it."

"I played with him at Colonial [the Charles Schwab Challenge] the first week back out, but I sort of said, okay, wait until he gets to a proper golf course, he'll have to rein it back in," continued McIlroy, who closed the tournament with a five-over-par 75.

"This is as proper as they come, and look what's happened. Yeah, he's got full belief in what he's doing, and it's pretty impressive."

Asked if he was concerned ahead of the rescheduled Masters at Augusta in November, McIlroy said: "I don't shudder, but if he can do it around here, and I'm thinking of Augusta and thinking of the way you sort of play there.

"I stood up here a few weeks ago and said the game's moved on a lot in the last 14 years since the U.S. Open's been played here, and you're seeing what the game has become, what he's doing out there."

"I think it's brilliant," McIlroy said. "But I think he's taken advantage of where the game is at the minute. Look, again, whether that's good or bad, but it's just the way it is. With the way he approaches it, with the arm-lock putting, with everything, it's just where the game's at right now.

"I'm not saying that's right or wrong. He's just taking advantage of what we have right now."

Bryson DeChambeau clinched his maiden major title after a strong final round at the U.S. Open on Sunday.

The American was the only player in the red on his final round as a three-under 67 propelled him to a dominant six-stroke victory at Winged Foot.

Making his 16th major start, DeChambeau, 27, closed out a win as the rest of the field, particularly overnight leader Matthew Wolff, struggled at the tough course in New York.

Wolff battled to a five-over 75 in the final round, but it was enough to finish outright second at even par.

DeChambeau, whose win marked his seventh on the PGA Tour, had struggled at majors since his debut in 2015, securing his first top-10 finish earlier this year at the US PGA Championship.

Much of the talk around DeChambeau earlier this year centred on his weight gain, but he has been in fine form since the season restarted in June amid the coronavirus pandemic.

His U.S. Open victory is his second win since the campaign resumed, while he has four other top-10 finishes.

Wolff's two-stroke overnight lead disappeared quickly before he traded eagle putts with DeChambeau on the ninth.

DeChambeau holed a 39-footer and Wolff responded with a much shorter effort to be a stroke behind heading onto the back nine.

But that would be as close as Wolff would get from that point, DeChambeau pulling further ahead with a birdie at 11 after the 21-year-old bogeyed the 10th.

Whatever slim hope Wolff, bidding to become the first tournament debutant to win the U.S. Open since 1913, had disappeared with another bogey at 14 and a double at 16 as DeChambeau parred out.

A one-time winner on the PGA Tour, Wolff gave up a three-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July, when DeChambeau was also victorious.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Championship winner, finished third at two over after his 73.

Harris English (73) was a shot further back and ahead of Xander Schauffele (74), while world number one Dustin Johnson carded a 70 to finish in a tie for sixth.

After his opening-round 65 put him in a strong position, Justin Thomas (72) ended up tied for eighth at six over alongside the likes of Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy double-bogeyed the first hole and was not able to recover as he fired a 75.

Bryson DeChambeau produced a fine final round to win his first major title at the U.S. Open.

Matthew Wolff expects to be "a little antsy" to begin the final round after moving into the lead at the U.S. Open.

Wolff, 21, carded a record-equalling five-under 65 at Winged Foot on Saturday to open up a two-stroke lead in New York.

The American, whose round matched the 65 Justin Thomas shot on Thursday for the lowest in a U.S. Open at Winged Foot, is on track to become the first tournament debutant to win the major since 1913.

A one-time winner on the PGA Tour, Wolff also gave up a three-stroke lead after the third round at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July with Bryson DeChambeau – who is second at the U.S. Open – winning the tournament.

Wolff expects nerves in the final round again in what is just his second appearance at a major.

"I bet you I'm probably going to be a little antsy. It's the U.S. Open, and I have a lead," he told reporters.

"I'm going to try to keep my nerves as calm as they can be, and like I said, relax tonight, not really try to think about it. I put myself in a really good spot. I did everything that I could do up until this point, and tomorrow I'm going to go out there, I promise you I'm going to try my best, and if I come out on top or not, it is what it is.

"But right now I'm just looking to go have a good time, and it's just golf. Even though it is the U.S. Open, there's a lot of things in life that are a little different right now, and in the world you can see how many things are affecting us.

"And even though it would be unbelievable to add my name to a U.S. Open trophy, I think that the most important thing is realising everything that's going on and the people that I'm close with are … there's some things happening with that. Not anything that has to do with me, but my agent, John, is struggling right now with his health, and I've been thinking about him a lot out there. He doesn't want anyone to feel bad for him, but like I said, it just puts things in perspective. And I'm going to go out there, try to make him proud and go have a good time."

Wolff blitzed the front nine at Winged Foot with five birdies, and he managed his round despite hitting just two of 14 fairways.

Asked what was working well, Wolff said: "Everything. I think my putting was by far the best it's felt in the last two or three months. I feel like I'm really hitting the ball well.

"My irons were really good, and even though I only hit two fairways, my driver was – it was just barely off, but that's the U.S. Open.

"I feel like even though I missed the fairway, there was a lot of times I was in that graduated rough that's a little shorter, and I feel like yesterday the difference was I was in the really long stuff.

"Like I said, I felt really good with all parts of my game, and I'm just excited to be where I'm at and look forward to tomorrow."

Matthew Wolff equalled a U.S. Open record and is on track to make further history after taking a two-stroke lead in the third round.

Wolff carded a five-under 65 on Saturday, equalling the lowest round produced at Winged Foot at a U.S. Open.

The 21-year-old American blitzed the front nine in New York, making five birdies before a consistent back nine included a bogey and birdie.

Wolff's round came after hitting just two of 14 fairways, but he reached five under and a two-shot lead.

His 65 matched the round Justin Thomas managed on Thursday to set the record at Winged Foot.

If he wins, Wolff would become the first player to claim the U.S. Open on tournament debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.

Bryson DeChambeau (70) sits second at three under and Louis Oosthuizen (68) is the only other player under par at one under.

DeChambeau opened his round with back-to-back bogeys before picking up a shot at the seventh.

The American then made birdies at 16 and 17, but could only manage a bogey at the par-four 18th.

Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Championship winner, is also in contention after mixing four birdies with two bogeys.

Hideki Matsuyama (70), Xander Schauffele (70) and Harris English (72) are at even par, a shot ahead of Rory McIlroy (68).

But it was a forgettable third round, and in particular back nine, for overnight leader Patrick Reed.

The 2018 Masters champion was one under through nine holes before falling apart to shoot a 77 and sit at three over, tied for 11th.

Reed bogeyed six of his final nine holes and had a double bogey at the 11th, where he struggled to recover from the rough.

Thomas is at four over, while world number one Dustin Johnson was again unable to get much going, shooting a 72 to be at five over.

Rory McIlroy believes he can challenge for the U.S. Open title on Sunday, saying a third-round 68 has given him "a pretty good shot".

The Northern Irishman began on Thursday with a three-under 67 but turned his numbers around in the second round when a 76 looked to have scuppered his hopes.

On Saturday, moving day at Winged Foot, McIlroy had three birdies and just one dropped shot in the kind of solid performance he would sign for again in the final round.

Four-time major winner McIlroy, who was 22 years old when he won the 2011 U.S. Open, was back on the leaderboard.

On a course where American Matthew Wolff, just 21, was setting the pace, McIlroy was sensing the rekindling of a real opportunity this week.

"Overall 68 out there is a really good score," he said. "I don't know where that's going to leave me at the end of the day, but I'm feeling pretty good that I've got a good chance going into [Sunday]."

At one over par, McIlroy was watching the scoreboard to see where Wolff would finish the day.

A startling 30 on the front nine took Wolff to five under par for the tournament at one stage.

"No matter where I am at the end of the day, I feel like I've got a pretty good shot," McIlroy said.

"You know, it doesn't take much around here ... someone gets off to a decent start, maybe one or two under through five and then the leader goes the other way, one or two over through five, and all of a sudden you're right in the thick of things."

Asked what conditions he would want on Sunday, McIlroy said: "It's sort of a double-edged sword, right, because you would think that you'd want tougher conditions because it'll make it more difficult for the guys in front of you, but it also makes it more difficult for yourself.

"I think looking at the forecast, the conditions are going to be pretty similar to today, which is fine. If I go out there tomorrow and shoot another 68, I won't be too far away."

He was full of admiration for Wolff's front nine, describing his scoring as "awesome golf".

Patrick Reed said he is feeling confident after claiming the U.S. Open lead as the former Masters champion eyes a second major crown.

Reed tops the leaderboard by one stroke at the halfway stage following his even-par-70 in the second round at the unforgiving Winged Foot Golf Club on Friday.

Winner of the 2018 Masters, Reed was a shot off the pace after round one but used five birdies to replace Justin Thomas atop the standings in tricky conditions in New York.

After improving to four under through 36 holes, American golfer Reed told reporters: "I feel good. I feel ready to go out and put myself in position hopefully tomorrow [Saturday] to have a chance late on Sunday.

"But I think that's the biggest thing is I feel like the game is where it needs to be. I feel good.

"I just need to tighten a few things up here or there, but the short game is sharp, and when I play around a place like this, that's what you need."

Winged Foot proved troublesome again on another tough scoring day as 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, defending champion Gary Woodland, former world number one Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson were among the masses to miss the cut.

But Reed managed to tame the course following his opening-round 66, a mixed day featuring five birdies and as many bogeys as he ended the round ahead of surging countryman Bryson DeChambeau.

"Any time you play in the U.S. Open you know that you're going to have one of those days that things just aren't quite going your way," Reed said. "I felt like I left a decent amount of shots out there, felt like I was a little loose with some shots off the tee and also irons.

"To be able to feel like that and come out and shoot even par around a day like today, it's definitely a positive and makes you feel good going into the weekend."

Reed will play alongside rival DeChambeau on Saturday as the pair chase silverware and he added: "It's going to be good.

"I look forward to playing with him. I always enjoy playing with Bryson. It's kind of one of those things that we go out there, and I think around here it's not really as much on who you're playing with because you're out there attacking the golf course. This golf course you have to think about every little thing off of tee shots, iron shots, putts, everything.

"You don't really hang out with the guys you're playing with as much because you're too busy trying to figure out where you're trying to play this golf course and kind of put it together like a puzzle.

"I think that's the thing about the U.S. Open, there's not as much talking going on at the U.S. Open as there is other golf tournaments because it's a premium on every single golf shot. You let up once and you're going to make a mess of the golf course."

Tiger Woods said he will take a break before preparing to defend his Zozo Championship and Masters titles after missing the cut at the U.S. Open on Friday.

Woods endured a disappointing and frustrating outing in New York, where the 15-time major champion failed to qualify for the weekend following a seven-over-par 77.

A three-time U.S. Open champion, Woods finished with a score of 10 over at the unforgiving Winged Foot Golf Club, having holed two double bogeys and five bogeys on day two, while Patrick Reed tops the leaderboard at four under.

"It's frustrating that I'm not going to be here for the weekend," Woods said as defending champion Gary Woodland, Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson also missed the cut.

"It feels like the way the golf course is changing, anybody who makes the cut has the opportunity to win this championship. I didn't get myself that opportunity.

"It's never easy to not be playing for the championship on the weekend. The whole goal of entering an event is to win, and when I don't give myself that opportunity over the weekend, it doesn't feel good."

"Physically it was frustrating that I didn't drive the ball as well as I needed to," added the 44-year-old. "Iron play was pretty much the way it has been. It's been good, and I finally putted well. But on this golf course it's imperative that you hit fairways, and I did not do that."

Woods is now eyeing some recovery ahead of the Zozo Championship and rescheduled Masters.

The American superstar secured a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour crown after winning last year's Zozo Championship, and he will have the chance to move clear in the history books when the tournament starts on October 22.

Woods will then try to claim back-to-back Masters trophies at Augusta, beginning November 12.

"Probably I'm not going to be swinging a club for a little bit," he said. "Well, until Tuesday. And then after that, take a little break. And then refocus and get back after it.

"There's still one more major to go, and my title defence at Sherwood. We have a couple big, big things ahead of us."

Patrick Reed is the man to beat at the halfway mark of the U.S. Open after earning a one-shot lead in his pursuit of a second major title, while Tiger Woods was among the big names who failed to qualify for the weekend.

Reed – the 2018 Masters champion – carded an even-par-70 to move top of the leaderboard through two rounds in tricky conditions at Winged Foot Golf Club on Friday.

American golfer Reed was a stroke behind overnight leader and countryman Justin Thomas heading into day two in New York, where the rescheduled major is taking place behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Reed, who made a memorable hole-in-one in the opening round, replaced Thomas atop the standings thanks to a mixed day, which included five birdies and as many bogeys.

A controversial figure on the PGA Tour following accusations of cheating during last year's Hero World Challenge, Reed started on the back nine and birdied his second hole but had three bogeys in a five-hole stretch – that also included another birdie – approaching the turn.

Reed tallied two birdies and two bogeys before closing his round with a birdie at the last to end the day four under and ahead of surging American Bryson DeChambeau (68), who improved 12 positions.

Rafa Cabrera Bello (70), Harris English (70) and former world number one Thomas (73) are tied for third and two shots off the pace heading into Saturday's third round.

Thomas set the record for the lowest score posted in a U.S. Open at Winged Foot with a first-round 65, but he was unable to repeat the feat on a tough day.

Jon Rahm (72) closed the round one over through 36 holes, while world number one and FedEx Cup champion Dustin Johnson (70) is two strokes worse off following back-to-back rounds in the 70s.

Johnson – the 2016 winner – is three over alongside four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, who endured a forgettable round following a six-over-par 76.

In contention after round one, Northern Irish star McIlroy – seeking his first major trophy since 2014 – fell 17 positions on the back of a double bogey, seven bogeys and just three birdies.

As for Woods, he missed the cut and the 15-time major winner was not alone as defending champion Gary Woodland (74), Jordan Spieth (81) and Phil Mickelson (74) also fell short of the six-over line.

Three-time U.S. Open champion Woods finished with a score of 10 over after shooting a second-round 77, which included two double bogeys and five bogeys.

It was a horrible day for 2015 champion Spieth, whose woes continued as he bowed out at 14 over after going through the second round without a birdie, instead holding a double bogey and nine bogeys.

Bryson DeChambeau's confidence is at an "all-time high" after an excellent two-under 68 put him in contention following his second round at the U.S. Open.

Players and experts alike commented about how forgiving the notoriously brutal Winged Foot West Course was on day one, but the same could not be said on Friday.

The number of players finishing the day under par fell drastically, with Thomas Pieters and Matthew Wolff – both of whom were just a shot off the lead after the opening round – among those to slip, with each going four over par this time around to drop back to level.

But long-hitting DeChambeau, who carded 69 on Thursday, put himself right into the mixer with an impressive round for the clubhouse lead.

"I feel great. Confidence is at an all-time high right now," he told reporters. "I'm driving it well, iron play is fantastic, wedging is getting better each and every day, and I'm putting it like I know I can. So very happy.

"I want it to play as hard as possible. I feel like there's so many holes out here that I can take advantage of that some people can't.

"Now, that doesn't mean that I'm going to win or anything, you've still got to execute, you've still got to hit the driver straight.

"If I'm hitting the driver far but all over the place, you can't make birdies from the rough. It's very difficult to, so I still have to work on hitting it straight while hitting it far. And that's a unique combo that I'm going to strive for for the rest of my life."

With regards to his improvement, DeChambeau put it partly down to his approach play with the wedges, with calibration adjustments paying off.

"My wedges yesterday weren't that good," he said. "I was flying them too far and I wanted to know what the problem was and we figured out what the problem was.

"It just was going farther than I thought it was. We didn't practise them as well as I should have leading up to this tournament, but we made that adjustment, and it worked out beautifully for me today."

World number one Dustin Johnson appeared to be in trouble after his opening-round 73, but on Friday he went around at even par to remain on three over for the tournament, and given how aggressive the course felt on Friday, the 2016 champion believes his chances are still alive.

"I think still on this golf course, with the conditions that we're supposed to have the next couple days, I don't feel like I'm out of it," Johnson said. "I'm going to have to play really well, but I like where I'm at. I think obviously two solid rounds and [I'm] right back in the mix.

"So hopefully. It was a little better today, get a little better tomorrow and then even better on Sunday, and I'll be right there."

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