2024 U.S. Open leaderboard breakdown: Ludvig Åberg continues major breakout standing alone at Pinehurst (2024)

The U.S. Open is not supposed to be this easy. No one tell that to Ludvig Åberg. Following a 4-under 66 with a 69 on Friday, the young Swede -- playing the first major-championship season of his career -- will take a one-stroke lead at 5 under into Moving Day. Åberg sits ahead of Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay and Thomas Detry entering the weekend in North Carolina.

Åberg will attempt to become the second debutant to win the U.S. Open, the first since Francis Ouimet, an amateur, did so at The Country Club in 1913. Not only does Åberg's march around Pinehurst mark his first in the U.S. Open, it represents just his third career major appearance, even if it looks closer to his 30th.

"I think, obviously this being my first one, I think a U.S. Open is supposed to be hard," Åberg said. "It's supposed to be tricky, and it's supposed to challenge any aspect of your game. And I feel like it's really doing that. But super fortunate with the way that things have turned out over the last couple days, and hopefully, we'll be able to keep it up."

At the halfway point, the 24-year-old leads the field in both driving accuracy (26 of 28 fairways) and greens in regulation (30 of 36) putting his prodigious ball striking on display for all to see. It took until nearly 4 p.m. ET on Friday (!) for Åberg to miss a fairway in this championship as he connected on his first 20.

Fairways and greens is a healthy diet for any major championship, let alone a U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. Through two rounds, Åberg clearly has had the appetite. While it takes some years and numerous major appearances to figure out what they can pile on their plate, the robotic right hander seems to have consumed the knowledge just 10 rounds into his major career.

He knows what he can chew off and what he cannot stomach. He knows his restrictions (if there are any). And he knows he can digest this weekend thanks to a contention run at the Masters two months ago that resulted in a runner-up finish to Scottie Scheffler.

"I think Augusta [National] proved to me that I was able to be in that position, and it was more of a justification of like, 'Yeah, you can actually be there and contend on a Sunday,'" Åberg said. "Then, obviously, the golf course also played very difficult. It demanded a lot of patience and discipline just like this one does. Yeah, I feel like those experiences that I had back in April, they were great. Hopefully, we'll draw some similarities between those. All we try to do is just hit the shots as good as we can and then see where that ends up."

2024 U.S. Open leaderboard, Round 2

1. Ludvig Åberg (-5): There are too many great things to say about this kid. He pushed the lead out to 6 under a couple times before a late bogey on the 16th gave one back. The most telling part of Åberg's round came on the par-4 4th when he chunked his approach into the green. Instead of looking confused or frustrated, he laughed it off with his caddie, Joe Skovron, pitched his third to 11 feet and then knocked in the par save.

T2. Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Thomas Detry (-4):

DeChambeau didn't have the big stick cooperating Friday, but he did well to get around Pinehurst in an under-par fashion regardless. Hitting only seven fairways and 10 greens in regulation, the 2020 champion relied on the occasional tidy approach shot and more than enough putting as he rolled in four putts from outside 15 feet. It totaled up to five birdies, four bogeys, nine pars and another chance at winning his second major.

"Felt like I was actually hitting the driver pretty solid today," DeChambeau said. "Starting lines just weren't exactly where I saw them coming out of the chute, and consequently, ended up in the native area a few too many times, which cost me probably three or four shots. Something I'm looking forward to fixing over the weekend. But all in all, [I] was very happy with how I stayed patient, gave myself good opportunities when they mattered, and I made a lot of clutch putts coming in."

T5. Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Matthieu Pavon (-3): It wasn't as sharp as Thursday, but McIlroy's 72 on Fridaywas enough to position him nicely heading into the weekend. He continues to drive the ball like a stallion hitting 13 of 14 fairways in Round 2 and missing just four through his first two rounds. His approach play took a bit of a step back compared to Round 1, and his putting numbers weren't great on paper -- although that has something to do with putting his ball off the green on No. 17 (where he saved par).

"Obviously not quite as well as yesterday, but I feel like the golf course plays a little more difficult, even though we were off in the morning," McIlroy said. "Some of the hole locations were definitely a little tougher. Sort of had to have your wits about you. I putted it off one green there on 17. Overall, I felt like I did a pretty good job at keeping some of the mistakes off the scorecard. I wish I had converted a couple more of the chances. Hit the ball pretty well. I think only missed one fairway. So, I had plenty of opportunities. Yeah, wasn't quite as good with the putter today. Still overall in a great position going into the weekend."

8. Hideki Matsuyama (-2): Matsuyama carded the 10th bogey-free round in a U.S. Open at Pinehurst thanks to a sensational short game and some timely approach shots. The man from Japan found himself 1 under through 11 holes despite only hitting four greens in regulation across that span. He discovered his iron play late and rattled off three straight birdies to climb back into this tournament and card the low round of the day with a 66.

T9. Xander Schauffele, Tyrrell Hatton, Tom Kim, Akshay Bhatia, Tim Widing, Corey Conners and Zac Blair (-1): Schauffele's name being in red figures feels like a minor miracle. He was horrible across his first 20 holes, hitting just seven fairways and drifting as high as 2 over for the championship. Only then did he find his form as Schauffele rattled off five birdies across a nine-hole stretch in his second round to get him back into this championship. A double bogey on the par-5 5th put a hamper on an otherwise stellar performance on Friday.

T16. Sam Burns, Billy Horschel, Stephan Jaeger, Sergio Garcia, Russell Henley and Isaiah Salinda (E):Burns was 5 over through his first six holes of this championship and has clawed his way back admirably to give himself a chance with 36 to play. On Friday, Burns hit 13 of 14 fairways and gained nearly five strokes putting on the field. If he is to continue this march up the leaderboard, he will need the approach play to start cooperating.

T22. Taylor Pendrith, S.H. Kim, Sam Bennett and three others (+1)

T29. Sepp Straka, Brian Harman, Adam Scott, Denny McCarthy and four others (+2)

T37. Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith and 11 others (+3): Spieth's 71 may have been the highest total he could have carded. Hitting his irons perhaps as well as ever this season, the three-time major champion connected on just three birdies against four bogeys. He ranks inside the top 10 in strokes gained tee to green, strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained approach, but he sits outside the top 150 with the putter in hand.

T51. Wyndham Clark, Collin Morikawa, Keegan Bradley and three others (+4): Five birdies from the reigning champion were offset by four bogeys and a double. Clark's having a hard time playing from the short grass hitting just 16 fairways across his first two rounds.

T57. Scottie Scheffler, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Sahith Theegala and 14 others (+5): The world No. 1 walked off the golf course and thought his week was over. Pinehurst said not so fast as the cutline drifted to 5 over late extending Scheffler's made cut streak -- the last of which came in August 2022. Scheffler is joined by another multiple-time major winner in Koepka who struggled late in his round playing his final eight holes in 5-over fashion.

2024 U.S. Open leaderboard breakdown: Ludvig Åberg continues major breakout standing alone at Pinehurst (2024)
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