Masters champion and world No.2 Jordan Spieth and fellow young gun Patrick Reed made their moves at the US Open, surging to a tie for the lead after the second round at Chambers Bay.
Spieth put together a three-under-67 on Friday to move to five-under par for the championship, joining Reed (69) at the top of the leaderboard.
The Ryder Cup teammates lead by a stroke from Dustin Johnson (71) and South African Branden Grace (67) who sit four under while Joost Luiten (69), Tony Finau (68), Daniel Summerhays (67) and Ben Martin (70) share fifth at three under.
The Australian tilt is led by Jason Day but the Queenslander put a huge scare through the tournament when he collapsed on his final hole with a bout of benign positional vertigo.
He was able to finish off his round with a bogey after receiving treatment on course, signing for an even par 70 to be at two under in a tie for ninth.
Day is hopeful but not certain to be fit for the third round.
Spieth reeled off four birdies in his opening eight holes to jump to the outright lead at six-under but handed it back with a double bogey as he made the turn.
From there birdies on the first and ninth holes were only tempered by a seventh hole three-putt bogey.
“I know that it’s going to get tougher and tougher now that Saturday and Sunday hits,” Spieth said as he looks to be just the sixth player to win the Masters and US Open in the same year behind Tiger Woods (2002), Jack Nicklaus (1972), Arnold Palmer (1960), Ben Hogan (1951, 1953) and Craig Wood (1941).
“I’ll draw some on Augusta, but at the same time my patience level has to be even that much higher. I’m not quite putting myself in the same positions off the tee, so I’ve got to be a little more methodical.
“At Augusta I was kind of finding fairways, hitting it on the green and I was 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.”
Playing with Spieth, Day had two bogeys and just one birdie on the backside of the course before an incredible birdie on the first, his 10th.
After a greenside bunker shot went across the green and down a massive slope Day was able to hole out for a miraculous birdie.
“I screamed. I had a good view,” Spieth said of Day’s hole out.
“It was a cool shot to see. I probably wouldn’t scream if he did it on Sunday and we were tied, but it was nice today.”
Day backed it up with a 30-foot birdie putt on the second and was just two off the lead when his bogey on four was tempered by a birdie on eight.
But the collapse and subsequent bogey soured an otherwise good round.
Major championship rookie Cameron Smith is the next best Australian after his second consecutive 70 left him even, just five back.
Adam Scott (71) and 2006 champion Geoff Ogilvy (72) are one-over for the week, still in the mix.
Marcus Fraser (+2) and John Senden (+4) also survived to the weekend while Marc Leishman (+10) and Kurt Barnes (+13) blew out on Friday to miss the cut.
The same fate awaited 14-time major winner Tiger Woods who backed up his miserable 80 with a 76 to finish 16-over.