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Clarkston native Joel Dahmen, Collin Morikawa share lead midway through U.S. Open

June 17, 2022 Updated Fri., June 17, 2022 at 6:42 p.m.

It was an eventful 18 holes Friday for Clarkston native Joel Dahmen, but the good easily outweighed the bad.

Dahmen wasn’t quite as precise with his ball-striking as Thursday, but he made up for it in other ways for a 2-under-par 68 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, and a share of U.S. Open lead with two-time major winner Collin Morikawa. The two are at 5-under 135 through 36 holes.

Several of golf’s biggest names occupy a packed leaderboard, including the top three in the world rankings – No. 2 Jon Rahm and No. 3 Rory McIlroy at 136, No. 1 Scottie Scheffler at 137 – and No. 7 Morikawa. No. 9 Sam Burns is at 138.

Dahmen (67-68), Aaron Wise (68-68) and Hayden Buckley (68-68) have some recent history on their side. They are among seven players to begin the U.S. Open with scores of 68 or better in each of the first two rounds since 2010. The first four went on to win: McIlroy in 2011, Martin Kaymer in 2014. Jordan Spieth in 2015 and Gary Woodland in 2019. Additionally, 24 of the past 26 U.S. Open champions have been within two strokes of the lead entering the weekend.

“This is certainly a little different, it’s a little bigger stage for me,” Dahmen told The Golf Channel. “There were a couple points out there where people were chanting for me and rooting for me, and typically when there’s a big gallery around I’m with somebody else, Rory or Rahm or some of those guys. For me to kind of be the guy out there on the back nine it was really cool.”

Dahmen, 34, with one PGA Tour win to his credit, had chances to take the outright lead but couldn’t get 10-foot birdie putts on 17 and 18 to fall.

Still, his putter came through more often than not. He buried a 58-footer for birdie on No. 15 to join Morikawa, whose 66 matched first-round leader Adam Hadwin for the low round of the tournament, on top of the leaderboard. Dahmen caught the left edge of the hole to save par from 9 feet on No. 12, then caught the right edge and the ball swirled the cup before dropping on an 11-footer for par on No. 16.

“I actually hit it really well (in a practice round Wednesday), striped it on Thursday,” said Dahmen, who didn’t hit it well during a Tuesday practice round with Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, which he attributed to rust and nerves. “Today was typical U.S. Open, kind of scrapped it around a little bit.”

Dahmen made three birdies on the front nine, all from inside 3 feet. His approach from 182 yards came to rest 2 feet from the hole on No. 1, leading to an easy birdie. He three-putted the second hole for bogey. He birdied No. 5 from close range following a delicate, downhill green-side chip from thick rough. He birdied the par-5 eighth after his 10-foot eagle putt stopped an inch or two short of the cup.

Dahmen twice used putter instead of chipping from well off the green for nifty up-and-downs to salvage pars.

Dahmen was reminded after the round of his quote – “I’m never going to win a major” – by an interviewer, who followed by asking if Dahmen was buying what he was selling.

“I’m a pretty good salesman,” Dahmen responded in his typical entertaining, self-deprecating style, “but you don’t always have to believe in what you’re selling. If I can do it for the first two days, why can’t I do it for two more?”

Dahmen and Morikawa tee off in the final group at 12:45 p.m. Saturday.

“It’ll be a big weekend. We don’t tee off until 3:45 (Eastern time). I typically have to be home at 5 for dinner, so this will be different for sure,” Dahmen cracked.

Former Community Colleges of Spokane standout Brady Calkins had three birdies and six bogies while shooting 73. The Chehalis, Washington, native finished at 9-over 149 and missed the cut by six strokes.

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