MEMPHIS, Tenn. – On Monday, Daniel Berger spent the day studying Oakmont in preparation for the U.S. Open. On Thursday and Friday at the FedEx St. Jude Classic he’s proving to have a game that might be perfect for next week.
Berger beat the heat early on Friday for a second-round 64 to take the early lead at TPC Southwind. The highlight of the round was his scrambling par at the last, after missing the fairway, to complete a perfect card.
“You're never happy when you're punching out of a bunker and you have another 130 yards left but you just have to do what you have to do and hit a nice wedge shot in there and made a nice [8-foot] putt,” said Berger, who was alone atop the leaderboard at 9 under. “Kind of get some momentum going into the weekend.”
Berger, who opened with a 67, rolled off back-to-back birdies at Nos. 8 and 9 to turn at 3 under and added two more at the 15th and 16th holes to pull away from the field.
For the day, he hit eight of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation, a good combination at Oakmont, which Berger played on Monday before heading to Memphis.
“It's the hardest course I've ever played in my life,” he said. “It's just extremely long and extremely penalizing. You have 10-footers that break 4, 5 feet. Speed control is going to be huge, and hitting fairways.”