Mother Nature continued to provide a reprieve to the world’s best golfers on Friday. While the sun finally made a brief appearance at Pebble Beach Golf Links, the brisk winds that often define U.S. Open Championships contested on the iconic Monterey Peninsula layout continued to be kind and gentle. Even with the greens firming up a bit, Round 2 produced more under-par rounds (44) than Thursday (39). But a different person was holding the lead.
Gary Woodland, who has never finished better than a tie for 23rd in eight previous U.S. Open starts, carded a 6-under, bogey-free 65 for a two-stroke lead over 2013 champion Justin Rose. Woodland’s round matched the 18-hole record in a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach held by Tiger Woods (2000) and Rose, who posted that number in Thursday’s opening round. Woodland’s 36-hole total of 133 (9 under) surpassed Woods’ mark of 134 for U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach but was three off the championship 36-hole scoring record of 130 registered by Martin Kaymer in 2014 at Pinehurst.
Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion at St. Andrews, is three strokes back at 6-under 136. Rory McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, and Aaron Wise are another shot back at 137 after shooting 69 and 71, respectively, on Friday.
Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka carded a second consecutive 69 and tied for sixth, five strokes back at 138. Woods, a three-time champion, bogeyed his final two holes to shoot 72 and is nine back at even-par 142.
With a cutline at +2, 79 players are keeping their expensive accommodation for the weekend, among them French Clément Sorde) but Poulter, Finau or Watson are back home. USGA/PPH