Leishman barely keeping misfiring Aussie hopes alive
MARC Leishman and Aaron Baddeley are Australia's only hopes to chase down runaway leader Dustin Johnson at the US Open, with their fellow Aussies missing the cut.
Leishman leads an Australian contingent that has been whittled down to two by the brutal Shinnecock Hills course, but he still sits seven shots back of world No.1 Johnson.
Former US Open winner Johnson fired a superb round of three-under-par 67 and at four under he holds a four-shot cushion over Scott Piercy (71) and Charley Hofman (69) at even par.
Major winners Henrik Stenson (70) and Justin Rose (70), defending champion Brooks Keopka (66), Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood (66) and Ian Poulter (72) share fourth at one over.
Leishman clawed his way back into contention with a gutsy 69, which brought his total back to three over. He shares 12th place.
Baddeley shot 72 and at six over is in equal 36th place.
Australia's two biggest names, Adam Scott and Jason Day, have both missed the cut at the US Open for a second consecutive year.
Billed as one of the pre-tournament favourites, world No.8 Day shot 73 to finish at 13 over. Scott's 75 also left him at 13 over.
Other Australians set to miss the weekend rounds included Jason Scrivener (71, nine over), Matt Jones (74, 10 over), Cameron Smith (72, 11 over), David Bransdon (74, 13 over) and Lucas Herbert (74, 17 over).
Tiger Woods (72, 10
over), Jordan Spieth (71, nine over), Rory McIlroy (70, 10 over) and Sergio Garcia (79, 14 over) all missed the cut.
Woods though refused to get too downhearted and said he still thought he could win another major.
"Absolutely," Woods said.
They're not easy. "I mean, I've won a few of them over the course of my career, and they're the hardest fields and usually the hardest set-ups.
"So they're meant to be testers, and you don't win major championships by kind of slapping all around the place and missing putts.
"You have to be on. You just can't fake it at a major championship."
Woods was also in awe of the implacable Johnson.
"Dustin was in complete control of what he was doing," he said.
"He's hitting the ball so flush and so solid.
"I know it's windy. It's blustery. It was raining early. But he's hitting right through it."