Aberg leads US Open at halfway, McIlroy two back

McIlroy is also once again in contention at a major. He has had five successive top-10s at the US Open, including last year’s runner-up finish.

He described Thursday’s bogey-free opening as a “controlled round of golf” but seemed to be losing his grip when at two over par for his round on Friday, he putted straight off the green on the 17th (his eighth), only to hole the chip back to save par.

That energised him around the turn and he finally found his first birdie with a seven-footer at the third to reward a magnificent approach into the green.

“I did a pretty good job at keeping some of the mistakes off the scorecard,” said the four-time major winner.

“I am in a great position going into the weekend.”

He finished eight shots ahead of playing partner Scheffler who was off-colour in a bruising round of 74.

This was his first birdie-free round of golf at a major tournament and there was even a minor outburst from the usually impassive world number one as he tossed his putter following a missed par attempt.

An erratic display was summed up by a grisly double bogey at the fifth hole, a score matched by world number two Xander Schauffele who scrapped his way to a 69 and one under par total.

The newly crowned US PGA champion was joined on that mark by Hatton who hauled himself into the top five before three bogeys in four holes on the back nine checked his progress.

Aaron Rai is at three over, while fellow Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, as well as Northern Ireland’s Tom McKibbin, all made the cut on five over.

However, Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre and England’s Justin Rose and Robert Rock are heading home after finishing at six over par.

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