Henley joins Bland to share unlikely 36-hole lead at U.S. Open
To say it's an unlikely duo atop the U.S. Open leaderboard after 36 holes would be an understatement.
Russell Henley has never posted a top-10 finish in 26 major starts, and Richard Bland is making just his fourth major appearance in a pro career that's spanned 25 years and yielded just one European Tour victory.
Henley's 1-under 70 on Friday was enough to match Bland at 5-under-par for the championship, one stroke ahead of Matthew Wolff and Louis Oosthuizen.
Jon Rahm and Bubba Watson sit two strokes behind at 3-under-par, an important spot considering 23 of the last 25 U.S. Open champions have been within two strokes of the lead after 36 holes of action.
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Henley has won three times on the PGA TOUR but is trophy-less since 2017. He's played in just two of the last 11 major championships and entered this week as high as 200-1 to claim the title, and that pales in comparison to the 500-1 price Bland was available at.
Bland's career as a professional golfer includes eight trips to European Tour qualifying school and his first top-tier victory earlier this season after 477 starts. The 48-year-old's triumph at the British Masters set the record for the oldest player to claim their first career win on the European Tour.
Either man would represent a stunning victory, especially with talented players like Wolff, Oosthuizen, Rahm, and Watson lurking.
Wolff took a two-month break heading into the U.S. Open, but the ultra-talented 22-year-old already has a second-place showing in his lone previous start at the event. After making eight birdies in the opening round Thursday, Wolff made four more in Round 2 to move up the leaderboard.
Oosthuizen and Watson's major results speak for themselves, while Rahm's previous success at Torrey Pines made him the betting favorite this week.
With a host of talented players like Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, and Collin Morikawa lurking, the stage is set for an incredible weekend at Torrey Pines.