Gary Woodland, who has never won a major championship, is on top of the leaderboard midway through the 119th U.S. Open.
The 35-year-old Woodland sank a 50-foot birdie putt his final hole, No. 9, to cap a bogey-free, 6-under-par 65 that gave him a two-stroke lead over Justin Rose of England at Pebble Beach Golf Links http://www.pebblebeach.com.
“I struck the ball well again, just like yesterday, but the difference was my short game and putting,” said Woodland, who held the lead after 36 holes in the PGA Championship last August at Bellerive before tying for eighth. “I made a lot of putts, including a big par save at No. 8, and to make birdie on the last hole.
“Today I felt in control of my whole game. I’ve been relying on my ball-striking for a long time and now I’m making putts. I just want to keep doing what I have been doing and stick to my game plan.
“I’m going to keep hitting driver when I can, hopefully keep making putts and have some fun.”
Woodland, who claimed the latest of his three PGA Tour victories in the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open, finished at 9-under 133 to equal Gil Morgan’s 1992 score that was the lowest for 36 holes in the six U.S. Opens played at Pebble Beach.
The fourth-ranked Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion who led after one round with his own 65, wasn’t as sharp in round two while posting a 70 but held the lead until Woodland passed him late in the day.
“I’m happy with the way I played and I had the opportunity to go lower, but I made a couple of mistakes that slowed my momentum,” said Rose, who made birdies on two of his last four holes to get under par for the day. “I was able to shake it off and make a couple of late birdies.
“That’s what the U.S. Open is all about. You’re going to make some mistakes over the course of the week, but I like my position and I like the golf course. But I definitely have some work to be done on the weekend for sure.”
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, who won the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews, is three shots back in solo third after a 70 that included seven birdies, while third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland shot 69 and is one more back in a tie for fourth with Aaron Wise of Lake Elsinore, who had a 71.
Top-ranked Brooks Koepka, the two-time defending U.S. Open champion, carded a second straight 69 and is five strokes behind in a tie for sixth with Matt Kuchar (69), Matt Wallace (68) of England, Chesson Hadley (70) and Chez Reavie (70).
Tenth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State totaled 73 and is in a tie for 11th that includes Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, the 2010 U.S. Open winner at Pebble, who shot 70.
Second-ranked Dustin Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open winner, finished at 69 and is in a tie for 19th that includes seventh-ranked Francesco Molinari of Italy, who wound up at 72.
Phil Mickelson, who can complete the Career Grand Slam with a victory this week, is tied for 27th after a 69, fifth-ranked Tiger Woods, a three-time U.S. Open champion, shot 71 and is tied for 32nd, ninth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis is tied for 45th after a 74 and seventh-ranked Justin Thomas had a second 73 and missed the cut by two strokes.
For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html