If you were expecting anything else for a headline, you must be new here. Richard Bland leads the U.S. Open (with Russell Henley) at a monotonous Torrey Pines. How apropos.

U.S. Open Leaderboard

Friday notes

The Bland one – The story of the day was Richard Bland, the 48-year-old journeyman who fired a second-round 67 and jumped to the top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Open. Bland made headlines just last month when he won his first European Tour event in his 478th attempt, a record that’s hard to imagine being broken. Two rounds in, he’s contending on a golf course that does not seem to fit his game at all. But Bland has been a grinder for a long time. He dropped down the Challenge Tour to earn back his European Tour card a couple of years ago, and now finds himself in the biggest spot of his career. We aren’t bullish on his chances to actually lift the trophy, but man, that would be one hell of a story.

“He went to Georgia” – Tied for the 36-hole lead with Richard Bland is Russell Henley, a PGA Tour mainstay who has never recorded a top-10 finish in a major championship. Henley played incredible golf on Friday, recording just one bogey, which came on his final hole after he missed a two-foot par putt. The 32 year old has drastically improved his iron play over the last couple of seasons and has four top 10s on the season. He hasn’t spent much time around the lead in majors but neither will his Saturday playing partner, Richard Bland. Maybe the two of them can find some mojo and keep themselves in the storylines come Sunday.

Horses – Two players toward the top of the leaderboard are looking awfully ominous right now: Jon Rahm at -3 and Xander Schauffele at -2. In spite of not feeling great about his golf swing, Rahm recorded a workmanlike 70, which included several gutsy par saves. Schauffele did much the same, battling his way to an even-par 71. Both players were favorites going into this U.S. Open, and if you’re in the groups at -4 and -5, you’re keeping a close eye on both of them.

2012 Masters redux – Just behind the leaders is the duo of Louis Oosthuizen (-4) and Bubba Watson (-3). Both are veterans and have played many majors, but Oosty has had way more success in the U.S. Open than Bubba, especially recently. Watson’s last—and only—U.S. Open top 10 came back in 2007, whereas Louis has finished in the top seven in three of his past six starts in the event. Both Oosthuizen and Watson have far more pressure-cooker experience than the rest of the leaders, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see them hang around this weekend.

Hmmm – Despite our expectations for Brooks Koepka to keep the pedal down and motor through the second round, the four-time major winner stumbled to a 73. He’s at even par for the tournament, tied with his buddy Bryson (but not paired with him on Saturday, unfortunately). Brooks will need to play well to capture his fifth major, but we don’t think he’s exactly shaking at the prospect of chasing Russell Henley and Richard Bland.

Howlin’ – Matthew Wolff played well for the second day in a row at Torrey Pines, shooting 68 and moving just one shot behind the leaders. This round was far less erratic than his first, so Wolff seems to be settling in at a course that suits him perfectly. We’ll see if the kid can hold his form for two more rounds.

Oops – Remember yesterday when we were excited that Rory McIlroy hadn’t shot himself out of a major championship in the first round? Well, we’re sad to report that he may have done just that on Friday. McIlroy started well but ended up with 73 and fell six shots behind the lead. He’s not technically out of it, but a lot will need to go right for him to get back in the mix.

A bounceback – Defending U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau spent Thursday evening bashing balls into the darkness and paid it off with a Friday 69. (Well, to hear the big man tell it, a midnight epiphany deserves the credit for his turnaround, so… okay!) Now even on the championship, Bryson is five shots back. Like Rory, he’ll need some good breaks to capture his second U.S. Open title.

A real vet – Following rounds of 71-73, Air Force veteran Kyle Westmoreland will play the weekend at the U.S. Open. Westmoreland played collegiate golf at the Air Force Academy and has been focusing on his game again after finishing his service. For more on his story, check out Adam Schupak’s piece for Golfweek.

Ouch – Viktor Hovland had to withdraw during the second round because of sand that lodged itself in his eye. During his warm up, Hovland felt sand get stuck in his eye and he tried to fight through it. He called it quits after his vision got worse in the middle of his round.

Quick Hooks

After a great week at Lake Merced last weekend, Leona Maguire is back at it again. She leads by three shots after rounds of 65-64 at the Meijer LPGA Classic. Leaderboard

UNLV product Harry Hall shot 63 on Friday to take a two-shot lead into the weekend at the Wichita Open on the Korn Ferry Tour. Please take a gander at Harry Hall’s swagger when you get a chance. Leaderboard

For the past couple of years, Bubba Watson has been refreshingly open about his efforts to improve his mental health and find balance in his personal and professional lives. His post-round interview today was no different.

Someone get Dick Bland a hat sponsor!

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Registrations for two of our events open next week! The Regatta at White Bear Yacht Club will be held on 9/13 while The Aftermath at Pine Hills CC will take place on 9/27, the day after the Ryder Cup and right up the road from Whistling Straits. Mark your calendars: registrations open on Tuesday, June 22 at 12 p.m. ET.

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