OAKMONT, Pa. -- Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy strolled onto the Oakmont Country Club practice green, which is attached to the rear of the ninth green, on June 17. He paused to watch Ethan Tracy attempt a birdie putt.

OAKMONT, Pa. -- Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy strolled onto the Oakmont Country Club practice green, which is attached to the rear of the ninth green, on June 17. He paused to watch Ethan Tracy attempt a birdie putt.

Tracy, a 2008 Hilliard Darby High School graduate, was unaware one of the world's best golfers was watching him putt. And that's quite all right with him.

"This is where he wants to be," said Dan Tracy, Ethan's father. "To see him achieve the goals he set for himself is just awesome."

Tracy's two-putt for par on No. 9 completed his first two rounds of the 116th U.S. Open at 3-over-par 143. His two-day total was better than the world's top three golfers in No. 1 Jason Day (5-over 145), No. 2 Jordan Spieth (4-over 144) and No. 3 McIlroy (8-over 148).

Tracy, 26, made the cut but faltered on the weekend. He finished tied for 65th with Spencer Levin with a four-round total of 19-over 299. Regardless, it marked the first time he has played the weekend of a PGA Tour event.

"It's been a lot of fun," Tracy said following the conclusion of his second round. "I have my parents, my girlfriend, my coach (here) and my best friend is my caddie. It's been nice to have them here."

Tracy is playing on the Mackenzie Tour this year in Canada and has conditional status on the Web.com Tour. The U.S. Open was his third career PGA Tour event. He played in the Wells Fargo Championship held May 5-8 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, but missed the cut by three strokes after shooting 73 and 76 in the first two rounds. He also played in the Memorial Tournament held June 2-5 at Muirfield Village Golf Club, but missed the cut by four strokes after shooting 71 and 75 in the first two rounds.

In order to play in the U.S. Open, Tracy hit the qualifying trail. He competed in a USGA sectional qualifier June 6, playing 18 holes each at Kinsale and Wedgewood to tie Bryson DeChambeau for second at 9-under, one stroke behind medalist Carlos Ortiz.

"It's been a long road to get here," Tracy said. "But I'm working hard. Actually, the hardest I've worked on my game in a long time. I feel good with the process I'm going through. I just keep getting better and hopefully I can be out here full-time one day."

Tracy, a 2012 University of Arkansas graduate, was one of three former Razorbacks to make the cut at Oakmont, along with David Lingmerth, who finished 12th at 3-over (283), and Andrew Landry, who tied for 15th at 5-over (285).

"This course is good for me," Tracy said. "I'm a tough course player. I don't necessarily make a lot of birdies, but a U.S. Open-style course set up great for me."

Tracy was named first-team all-Southeastern Conference his senior year at Arkansas and is one of two central Ohio players to win the Western Amateur, joining Jack Nicklaus. In 2011, Tracy defeated Jordan Spieth 2 and 1 in a semifinal before topping Patrick Cantlay 1 up. That year, Cantlay was ranked No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and set the record for most weeks atop the rankings at 55.

*WASN'T HIS DAY -- Jason Day, an Australian who resides in Westerville, was one of the favorites entering the U.S. Open as the top-ranked golfer in the world.

He opened with a 6-over 76 before back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He then shot a 1-over 71 in the final round June 19 to finish tied for eighth at 2-over (282).

"I played some good golf out there the last three rounds, and very happy with how I played," Day said. "I'm not so happy with the finish. Obviously, I'm here to win a tournament and, unfortunately, I didn't win. But all good stuff to learn from and just try and get better for the next time."

Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner, finished second at the U.S. Open in 2011 and 2013.

"I keep having a lot of top 10s in U.S. Opens," he said. "I've had two second-place finishes already and now a fourth, a ninth and an eighth. I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing because I'm putting myself in contention to give myself a shot at winning.

"One of these years it's going to fall my way. Until then, I've got to keep working hard and keep being focused on the process trying to get better each and every week."