Scotty Scheffler and Sam Burns compete again at the US Open

Brooklyn, Massachusetts – With all due respect to Frances Oymet, the 122nd US Open at The Country Club has so far been like so many US Openers.

It was filled with what the legal profession calls “slips and falls.”

You know slip and fall when you see it. Victor Hovland reached 2 under on Friday (contending) but stunned nine of his last 11 holes for 77 (and missed the cut). This is the idea.

Which brings us to Scheffler and Burns, as in Scottie and Sam, they are #1 and #2 in the FedExCup, respectively. Speaking of the difficulty of the US Open, two of the game’s hottest players have basically wrestled on the path to a tie. Schaeffler and Burns’ shot each 67 in the second round, Schaeffler reached 3-under, tied for the lead after the morning wave, and Burns reached 2-under.

“I’m a little upset because he beat me by one,” said Burns, a three-time winner of the PGA Tour this season. “But yeah, it’s great to see him play so well. He’s obviously had a great year, and he kind of motivated me to try to play a little bit better and try to keep up with that.”

Scheffler added, “I’ve been #1 in the world for a while now, and I don’t really feel like it, so I kind of like under the radar. I can come in and do my things and then go home and rest.”

What’s interesting about these two friends is not that they don’t slip. They are human beings, after all, and the US Open knocks everyone out. What’s interesting is that they don’t fall off.

Schaeffler suffered a gag on the short fifth hole on Friday, and the goof over his short court put a shot up the hill to the green. Looks like he was trying to kill a snake. “I don’t know,” he said, when asked to explain the odd shot. “I caught him a little fat, I think.” He cheated the hole, the third and sixth. pressure on.

At 2 on par and it didn’t seem to go anywhere, then 5 went under the remaining 12 holes, including an eagle hole from the borehole below the -5 bar 14.

Slip and fall? not here.

“But that’s just the US Open,” Scheffler said. “It’s just hard. I kind of lost focus there on 5 and 6 and then went right back in and played really well after that.”

Burns also hit a bullet that you don’t see often at this level, a wedge at the Par-4’s 10th slot that just barely floats through the air and spreads across the green and into the rear bunker. His ensuing double ghost erased on the tenth of almost all the good work he’s done in the top nine.

However, he also compressed, dropping by 2 in his last eight. “I don’t think there are many loopholes here,” he said. “You kind of have to be really focused and in touch with every shot.”

The slip-and-fight brawl between Scheffler and Burns goes a long way in explaining how they made their way to the top at this US Open, and how they owned this season. Three weeks earlier, they clashed in a playoff in the Charles Schwab Challenge, and Burns was on top.

That’s not to say he didn’t look at the world’s #1 ranked Schaeffler — a four-time winner on this season’s Tour, including the Masters — and even picked some pointers.

“A little about the greens,” Burns said. “I think I am trying to figure out how he takes the different shots and what kind of how he approaches those shots. I tried to learn from him on those.”

Scheffler talks a lot about flying “under the radar” and can sound like an excerpt from “Top Gun: Maverick,” but players aren’t fooled. Brooks Koepka (67, par), when asked about the prospect of winning two majors in a season, didn’t utter the words.

“It’s definitely tough,” said Koepka, who played with Scheffler, hit the Par-5 hole in two positions, and made the Eagle. “But he’s a player from hell, so I wouldn’t be surprised.”

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Burns, 25, wins. The best American player who has never played for Team USA or the Presidents Cup team is likely to correct that at the President’s Cup at Quail Hollow in September. In short, the golf world is just beginning to learn what his close circle has known for years.

After Burns won the Sanderson Farms Championship last fall, he told his older brother Chase the day he put a club in his little brother’s hands, just for the humor of their mother.

“I was like, ‘This is going to be a waste of time,'” Chase said. “It was the US Kids Clubs. I took him there and gave him some pointers. I think he hit an 8 iron or something, and his first swing hit a little 70 yards.”

“I was like, Wow, I bet he can’t do that again,” he continued.

Yet he did it again. and again. Chase ran inside to tell their father.

Greatness on repetition – that’s Scheffler and Burns. Hit play, match play, West Coast, East Coast, team play – Burns and Billy Horschel finished second at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans – it doesn’t matter. It’s easy to forget that Burns missed three straight cuts in February, and Scheffler didn’t make it to the weekend in the PGA Championship last month. They are only human.

But while it might slip, it doesn’t fall — at least not yet. Not under the pressure of a major tournament, not on a track where disaster lurks around every rocky outcrop, not even after hitting a cold lump or skull. They’re as adorable as that little squirrel on the logo here, swaying but never dropping a nut.

The Country Club seems to have met its match.

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