LA JOLLA: Jon Rahm grinded his way into contention at the US Open on Friday (Saturday in Manila), sinking clutch par putts and answering bogeys with quick birdies on a Torrey Pines layout he called a monster.
World No. 3 Rahm sank an 8-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole to fire a one-under par 70 and stand on three-under 139 for 36 holes at the Oceanside, California course.
"[I'm] feeling confident," Rahm said. "Yesterday, I hit it really well [and] hit a lot of fairways.
"Today, it was the opposite. [It] took me a while to get going. [I] didn't hit my second fairway until the 13th hole, and I just had to survive."
Rahm stumbled with bogeys at the fifth and par-5 13th holes but made birdies at the sixth and 14th in response before his closing birdie.
But the 26-year-old Spaniard, chasing his first major triumph, pointed to a crucial start to the back nine with par putts from outside 14 feet at the 10th, just inside 8 feet at the par-3 11th and almost 6 feet at 12.
"That stretch of putts on 10, 11 [and] 12 was key. Things could have taken a turn for the worse, and I was able to save some great three pars in a row," Rahm said. "Hopefully, I can just swing it like I did on the last four holes because I hit some beautiful shots and keep it going on the weekend."
Rahm had struggled earlier with sending drives to his left.
"I feel like it looks worse than it really was," he said. "It's easy to get a little bit tight on this golf course and all of the shots. The start lines were proper. They just weren't fading."
"I'm just not turning fast enough. I just have to swing a little bit harder with the driver, and that's exactly what I did starting on 13," he added.