US Open Wrap: Rickie Fowler hits 18 birdies in two days, McIlroy two behind lead

Rory McIlroy vowed he would never give up seeking more major titles after heading into the third round of the 123rd US Open just two shots off the lead.

McIlroy covered his last nine holes in five under par to card a second round of 67 at Los Angeles Country Club, where Rickie Fowler set the pace after a rollercoaster 68.

Fowler, whose opening 62 equalled the lowest score in any men’s major, made eight birdies, six bogeys and just four pars to post a 10-under-par halfway total of 130, equalling the lowest in a US Open set by Martin Kaymer in 2014.

Fowler’s 18 birdies over the first two days are also the most in championship history and kept the 34-year-old in pole position to claim a first major title.

McIlroy, who is seeking his fifth and a first since the US PGA Championship in August 2014, said: “No-one wants me to win another major more than I do.

“The desire is obviously there. I’ve been trying and I’ve come close over the past nine years and I keep coming back.

“I feel like I’ve showed a lot of resilience in my career, whether I get rewarded or punched in the gut I’ll always keep coming back.”

Quote of the day

Rickie Fowler responds to a fan’s query of ‘What are you doing?’ with a shrug, despite three-putting the seventh.

Shot of the day

Defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick did not see it go one, but definitely DID make the third hole-in-one of the week on the short 15th.

Round of the day

Australia’s Min Woo Lee carded six birdies and a solitary bogey in a second round of 65.

Statistic of the day

Halfway leader Rickie Fowler’s mistakes have been offset by a record 18 birdies over the first 36 holes.

Easiest hole

The reachable par-four sixth hole played to an average of 3.670 as 68 of the 156-man field made birdie, although evidence suggested it was better to play the hole conventionally rather than attempt to drive the green.

Hardest hole

The easiest hole was immediately followed by the hardest as the 299-yard, par-three seventh played to an average of 3.510. Just seven players made birdie and 13 made a double bogey.

Weather forecast

Fog could greet the early starters on Saturday, but mostly sunny skies should take over before lunchtime with temperatures climbing well into the 70s. That will cause southwest winds to pick up to possible highs of 18mph.

Key tee times (all BST)

2307 Sam Bennett, Min Woo Lee
2318 Dustin Johnson, Harrish English
2329 Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy
2340 Wyndham Clark, Rickie Fowler