US Open: ONE South African makes the halfway cut

Only one of the five South Africans who started the 122nd US Open will be around for the weekend at The Country Club.

US Open: ONE South African makes the halfway cut
Only one of the five South Africans who started the 122nd US Open will be around for the weekend at The Country Club. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

For a while on Friday, MJ Daffue led the US Open by three strokes. While that didn’t last, his second round of two-over-par 72 has left him in a share of 16th and just four shots off the lead in his first major championship.

It was a tale of two nines, as he made four birdies and a bogey on the front nine, but then three bogeys and a double on his way home.

At one-under, he’s the only South African to have survived the cut, and he knows that two solid rounds will give him the most meaningful result of his career as well as a chance of getting after Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen who lead at five-under.

“I don’t think my goal is to win this week,” said Daffue.

“My goal is just to be the best I can be, and if the best I can be and the best I can play is good enough for that, then I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve.”

Perhaps the experience of letting things slip will be good for him as he takes lessons from that into the rest of the tournament.

“Nothing really went through my head as far as, like, thinking about where I was on the scoreboard,” he said.

“I mean, I knew I was ahead by a few, but I would say I think I started losing focus on my clarity on my targets and how I’m envisioning my shots. I got a little quick in my process. I think that’s just obviously part of the nerves.

“I was calm. You know, if I made par on 18, we’d be having a different conversation. Even though it was a bad back nine, it was right there, and it’s small fixes, so it’s not something massive to fix.”

One of the things he will want to fix is his tempo when things start going awry. His double-bogey on the 18th showcased how that can desert him.

After his drive went left into some think grass between bunkers, his rapid execution of what looked like a ‘hail mary’ recovery simply put him in more trouble as he ended up in a greenside bunker, thinned that out over the back of the green, and then chunked his chip out of that rough to nearly 23 feet, and was unable to one-putt for bogey.

“I didn’t drive the ball as good as I usually do,” he said.

“By not driving as good I left myself in tricky spots. You know, it starts off the tee. Even if you miss the fairway, if you miss in the right spot, you have a chance. So it got quick. It’s small things luckily, so I’ll be able to fix it coming tomorrow.

“I think it’s just your thought process, too. You think about your front number and the pin. When you stand over a shot, you’ve already forgotten your front number. There are so many things going through your head. I think I need to take maybe two, three sips of water before every shot. Kind of shock the system a little bit and make you realize you’re here.

“A few extra practice swings, deep breaths, all sorts of movement stuff. Just kind of staying loose. Not thinking about the shot until it is your time to hit because then you are wasting so much mental energy before it’s time to execute.”

He will get to execute in the third round in the company of Adam Hadwin, the first-round leader. He’ll be far enough away from the sharp end of the tournament for him to be able to put his strategies into play.

“Once again, we’ll try our best the next two rounds, but whatever happens this week, you know, I’ve already done a lot of things here, and in the process, I was able to entertain some people today, too. It’s been good,” he said.

The halfway cut came at 3-over par 143.

The other four South Africans in the US Open field unfortunately all have the weekend off.

Branden Grace finished on five-over par, Louis Oosthuizen on six-over par, Shaun Norris on eight-over par and Erik van Rooyen on 10-over par.

LEADING SECOND ROUND SCORES ON FRIDAY IN THE 122ND US OPEN AT THE COUNTRY CLUB IN BROOKLINE, MASSACHUSETTS:

135 – Joel Dahmen (USA) 67-68, Collin Morikawa (USA) 69-66

136 – Beau Hossler (USA) 69-67, Aaron Wise (USA) 68-68, Hayden Buckley (USA) 68-68, Jon Rahm (ESP) 69-67, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 67-69

137 – Patrick Rodgers (USA) 69-68, Matthew NeSmith (USA) 68-69, Scottie Scheffler (USA) 70-67, Nick Hardy (USA) 69-68, Brian Harman (USA) 68-69

138 – Adam Hadwin (CAN) 66-72, Sam Burns (USA) 71-67, Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG) 68-70

139 – Callum Tarren (ENG) 67-72, Keegan Bradley (USA) 70-69, Will Zalatoris (USA) 69-70, Davis Riley (USA) 72-67, Xander Schauffele (USA) 70-69, Travis Vick (USA) 70-69, MJ Daffue (RSA) 67-72, David Lingmerth (SWE) 67-72

140 – Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 70-70, Kim Jooh-yung (KOR) 72-68, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 72-68, Andrew Putnam (USA) 72-68, Brooks Koepka (USA) 73-67, Adam Schenk (USA) 70-70, Brandon Matthews (USA) 71-69

141 – Dustin Johnson (USA) 68-73, Justin Thomas (USA) 69-72, Patrick Reed (USA) 70-71, Justin Rose (ENG) 68-73, Mackenzie Hughes (CAN) 72-69, Marc Leishman (AUS) 70-71, Joaquin Niemann (CHI) 71-70, Seamus Power (IRL) 71-70, Sebastian Söderberg (SWE) 71-70

142 – Wil Besseling (NED) 71-71, Guido Migliozzi (ITA) 72-70, Adam Scott (AUS) 69-73, Todd Sinnott (AUS) 71-71, Richard Bland (ENG) 70-72, Gary Woodland (USA) 69-73, Cameron Tringale (USA) 71-71, Jordan Spieth (USA) 72-70, Austin Greaser (USA) 72-70, Harris English (USA) 73-69, Max Homa (USA) 69-73, Grayson Murray (USA) 75-67, Chris Naegel (USA) 73-69, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 71-71, Christopher Gotterup (USA) 73-69

143 – Joseph Bramlett (USA) 71-72, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 72-71, Denny McCarthy (USA) 73-70, Stewart Hagestad (USA) 73-70, Sam Bennett (USA) 70-73, Sam Stevens (USA) 71-72, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 72-71, Min Woo Lee (AUS) 73-70, Juan Sebastián Muñoz (COL) 74-69, Lee Kyung-Hoon (KOR) 71-72

Missed the cut

144 – Im Sung-Jae (KOR) 72-72, Kalle Samooja (FIN) 77-67, Shane Lowry (IRL) 72-72, Guillermo Pereira (CHI) 70-74, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 74-70, Corey Conners (CAN) 71-73, Jim Furyk (USA) 74-70, Stewart Cink (USA) 73-71, Webb Simpson (USA) 70-74, Billy Horschel (USA) 73-71, Jason Kokrak (USA) 69-75, Kevin Kisner (USA) 73-71, Wyndham Clark (USA) 70-74, Cameron Young (USA) 72-72, Erik Barnes (USA) 71-73, James Piot (USA) 69-75, Matt McCarty (USA) 71-73

145 – Kevin Na (USA) 75-70, Luke List (USA) 72-73, Tony Finau (USA) 73-72, Brian Stuard (USA) 73-72, Tom Hoge (USA) 73-72, Chan Kim (USA) 73-72, Harold Varner III (USA) 72-73, Daniel Berger (USA) 70-75, Talor Gooch (USA) 74-71, Taylor Montgomery (USA) 72-73, Nick Taylor (CAN) 73-72, Benjamin Silverman (CAN) 72-73, Kim Si-Woo (KOR) 76-69, Ryan Fox (NZL) 74-71, Satoshi Kodaira (JPN) 74-71, Branden Grace (RSA) 76-69

146 – Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 77-69, Alexander Norén (SWE) 73-73, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 73-73, Roger Sloan (CAN) 76-70, Cameron Smith (AUS) 72-74, Troy Merritt (USA) 75-71, Russell Henley (USA) 76-70, Scott Stallings (USA) 74-72, Michael Thorbjornsen (USA) 77-69, Davis Shore (USA) 74-72, Sam Horsfield (ENG) 73-73

147 – Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 72-75, Lanto Griffin (USA) 72-75, Bo Hoag (USA) 72-75, Kurt Kitayama (USA) 74-73, Andrew Novak (USA) 73-74, Ryan Gerard (USA) 74-73, Maxwell Moldovan (USA) 75-72, Adrien Dumont de Chassart (BEL) 72-75, Adrià Arnaus (ESP) 76-71, Victor Perez (FRA) 73-74, Jonas Blixt (SWE) 75-72, Viktor Hovland (NOR) 70-77

148 – Patton Kizzire (USA) 74-74, Shaun Norris (RSA) 70-78, Rikuya Hoshino (JPN) 77-71, Keita Nakajima (JPN) 73-75

149 – Sepp Straka (AUT) 77-72, Kevin Chappell (USA) 73-76, Chase Seiffert (USA) 74-75, Andrew Beckler (USA) 78-71, Brady Calkins (USA) 76-73, William Mouw (USA) 75-74

150 – Yannik Paul (GER) 77-73, Daijiro Izumida (JPN) 73-77, Erik van Rooyen (RSA) 78-72

151 – Danny Lee (NZL) 76-75, Thorbjœrn Olesen (DEN) 75-76, Phil Mickelson (USA) 78-73, Charles Reiter (USA) 76-75, Harry Hall (ENG) 74-77, Richard Mansell (ENG) 77-74, Laird Shepherd (ENG) 75-76

152 – Nick Dunlap (USA) 78-74, Fred Biondi (BRA) 79-73, Tomoyasu Sugiyama (JPN) 74-78

153 – Jinichiro Kozuma (JPN) 76-77, Lucas Herbert (AUS) 74-79, Fran Quinn (USA) 76-77, Ben Lorenz (USA) 77-76

154 – Jesse Mueller (USA) 80-74, Isaiah Salinda (USA) 79-75

156 – Luke Gannon (USA) 76-80, Jediah Morgan (AUS) 82-74

157 – Marcel Schneider (GER) 78-79, Caleb Manuel (USA) 83-74

158 – Sean Crocker (USA) 83-75, Sean Jacklin (SCO) 78-80

164 – Keith Greene (USA) 83-81