The U.S. Open prides itself on being the most open of all majors with some 9,000 players from all walks of golf having a chance to compete.
The weekend at Torrey Pines features major champions and major contenders, players who are unknown or unheralded, all of them still within reach of that U.S. Open trophy. Nine shots separated first from last.
It starts with Richard Bland, a 48-year-old from England who finally won on the European Tour last month in his 478th try. Bland had a 4-under 67 and walked off Torrey Pines with his name atop the leaderboard in only his fourth major. His first one was 23 years ago.
Russell Henley had a chance to build a two-shot lead Friday afternoon when he stood over an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-5 ninth. He missed, and then watched his 2-foot par putt spin out of the cup. That gave him a 70 to join Bland 5-under 137.
They will be in the final group Saturday, with plenty of heavy hitters behind them and getting far more attention. Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (71) and Matthew Wolff (68), the U.S. Open runner-up last year at Winged Foot, were one shot behind.
Another shot back were two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson (67) and Jon Rahm (70), a past winner at Torrey Pines and former world No. 1.