Woodland sinks 50-foot birdie to surge into U.S. Open lead

By Thomas Lott 15 June 2019 170
Woodland sinks 50-foot birdie to surge into U.S. Open lead

Gary Woodland earned a two-stroke lead after surging to the top of the U.S. Open summit at the halfway stage.

Woodland holed a monster 50-foot birdie on the final hole as the American signed off for a six-under-par 65 at Pebble Beach on Friday.

He went bogey-free while posting six birdies in total on day two to join Justin Rose (Thursday) and Tiger Woods (2000) as the only players to shoot 65 in a U.S. Open round at Pebble Beach.

Woodland's lone true scare of the second round came at the eighth hole (his 17th), where he put himself in bad position with his second shot off the right front of the green.

But Woodland got on with his third and made an extremely slippery putt down the hill to avoid dropping a shot and improve to nine under through 36 holes, ahead of Rose.

Rose – the 2013 champion – posted a second-round 70 to stay atop the leaderboard before Woodland's surge in California.

The Englishman's putting carried him to his superb first round, but his putter saved him from posting big numbers on Friday as Rose got up and down from several tough spots on the day.

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen (70) ended the round three shots adrift of Woodland, with four-time major champion Rory McIlroy a stroke further back at five under.

McIlroy was on his way to a fantastic day as he was three under through 11, but a bogey and double bogey on back-to-back holes forced him to salvage what could have been a much better round.

The former world number one got it done though as he birdied two of the final four to finish with a two-under 69 to be level alongside Aaron Wise (71).

Two-time reigning champion and world number one Brooks Koepka carded back-to-back 69s to be a shot further back, tied with Chez Reavie (70), Chesson Hadley (70), Matt Kuchar (69) and Matt Wallace (68).

Dustin Johnson (69) is two under heading into the third round, while Jordan Spieth (69) climbed the leaderboard courtesy of a 69 to be eight strokes behind Woodland.

Masters champion Tiger Woods has ground to make up after back-to-back bogeys to end the day left the 15-time major winner seven shots off the pace.

Woods – seeking a fourth U.S. Open crown – dropped consecutive shots at the end of the day for a one-over-par 72.

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Thomas Lott

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