McIlroy, Cantlay the sole survivors to par at Olympia Fields | Golf

“It’s about as stiff of a test as you would want,” Cantlay said. “It’s very, very difficult, and you have to play from the fairway, and you have to play from below the hole, frankly. The greens have so much slope on them that you really need to be putting uphill. And so if you’re in the rough, it gets exponentially harder to do that.”

For those playing well — anywhere within a few shots of par in this case — it was an enjoyable challenge. For everyone, regardless of the score, it was a grind.

“I don’t know if any rain will matter, really,” Kevin Kisner said after a bogey-bogey finish ruined an otherwise good day and gave him a 70, leaving him three shots behind. “I think even par wins the golf tournament.”

Doesn’t 280 always win the U.S. Open? That’s what Arnold Palmer used to say.

And this feels like a U.S. Open.

Go back to Shinnecock Hills two years ago in the U.S. Open to find the last time someone won at over par (Brooks Koepka). For non-majors, the tour said over par hasn’t won since Bruce Lietzke at the Byron Nelson Classic in 1981.

It’s a massive change from last week, when Johnson won by 11 shots at 30-under 254.

“Last week was fun, too,” Johnson said. “But this week is more of a grind, that’s for sure. Every single hole out here is difficult. You’ve got to really be focused on every shot that you hit.”

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