In the past 50 years, only 21 U.S. Open champions were leading the field after the second round of the tournament. The other 29 champions fought back from an average of 3.2 shots back. The latest came in 2013, when Justin Rose sat one shot back of the lead Saturday morning, before winning by two.
The largest 36-hole deficit by a winner came in 1975. That year, Lou Graham shot 74-72 on Thursday and Friday, sitting four shots over, and 11 strokes back from the 36-hole leader, Tom Watson. But Saturday, Watson collapsed, carding a 7-over 78, while Graham was 3-under to move into a tie for fourth place, still four strokes behind leader Frank Beard.
Sunday, Beard followed in Watson’s footsteps, shooting a 78 to finish tied for third place. But Graham’s 73 was enough to put him into a playoff with John Mahaffey. He would win that playoff, becoming the only player in the past 50 years to make up a double-digit deficit after 36 holes.
Here’s the full list of every 36-hole comeback since 1968: