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U.S. Open leaders belong to Generation Next

Patrick Reed lines up a putt on the

Patrick Reed lines up a putt on the 16th hole during the first round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 18, 2015 in University Place, Wash. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. - The U.S. Open is being played on a new style of links course at Chambers Bay, and after two rounds, it has produced a leader board that has a distinctive "Generation Next" feel to it.

Patrick Reed, who opened with a first-round 66, and Masters champion Jordan Spieth --  despite a double bogey on his ninth hole of the day, the 18th -- bot finished the second day at 5 under par .

After shooting a 65 to share the first-round lead, Dustin Johnson -- who embraced the quirky, long layout as soon as he saw it -- struggled down the stretch and made bogey on the final two holes for a 71 that put him in a tie for third at 4 under par.

Reed had a stretch of three bogeys in four holes in the middle of his round but eagled the 284-yard par-4 12th to jump to the top of the leaderboard at 7 under only to fall back with bogeys at the 13th and 15th before making a birdie on the 16th.

Branden Grace might fly under the radar for casual fans, but the 27-year-old South African has two European Tour wins this year and fired a 67-136 despite a bogey at his last hole to move into a share of a tie for third.

Golf's biggest young star, No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy, continued to struggle with the greens but his eagle at the 12th turned his round in the right direction and helped him climb back into the fray at 1 over late in his round.

Veteran first-round co-leader Henrik Stenson was struggling at 3 over for the day late in his round and fell back into a group at 2-under 138 that includes Jason Day and J.B. Holmes.

Phil Mickelson had a disappointing 74 to drop to 3-over 143 but was one stroke under the cut line at 4 over.

Spieth said he expects to draw on his experience winning the Masters in April while chasing the second leg of the Grand Slam. "I'm not going to have a four- or five-shot lead," he said, alluding to his runaway dominance at Augusta. "Given it's a U.S. Open, I imagine they're going to try to bring us back to par.

"At Augusta, I was finding fairways, hitting it on the green and making everything. That would be nice here if I could do that, but it's a harder golf course than the Masters played this year."

For the second straight round, Grace recorded an eagle. In the first round it was at the 12th, but in the second round, he sank a putt from the fairway that he estimated was 35 yards from the pin at the par-5 eighth hole. "That's a big bonus, kept the round going," Grace said. "It's a little bit of luck. To get the speed right on a putt like that is almost impossible. Thankfully, the pin was there. I hit the pin center, and it managed to fall in."

Breaks are part of a U.S. Open and so is patience with the layout. Spieth expressed his displeasure with the USGA playing the 18th as a 514-yard par-4 instead of the par-5 it was in the opening round. On Friday he drove into a fairway bunker, hit the lip coming out, knocked his third into a green-side bunker and ultimately finished with a double bogey.

"If it's going to be a par-4 and you're going to bring that bunker into play, I think the tee should be moved up more," Spieth said. "I thought it was a dumb hole today, but I think we're going to play it from there again, so I've got to get over that."


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