Friday, March 23, 2018

Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, David Toms share U.S. Open lead after two rounds


Jim Furyk 70-69 -1

Tiger Woods 69-70 -1

David Toms 69-70 -1

John Peterson 71-70 +1

Nicolas Colsaerts 72-69 +1

Graeme McDowell 69-72 +1

Michael Thompson 66-75 +1


Phil Mickelson 76-71 +7

Bubba Watson 78-71 +9

Rory McIlroy 77-73 +10

Luke Donald 79-72 +11

TV/radio: 4 p.m., Ch. 8; 1040-AM

Weather: High of 80, no rain, wind northwest at 10 mph

SAN FRANCISCO — There were no fist pumps for Tiger Woods, just a deep breath and a slow exhale. Jim Furyk walked most of the 7,170 yards at Olympic Club with his head down. David Toms couldn't think of a single shot he hit without his full attention.

They were not Friday's survivors of the U.S. Open. They were the leaders.

And it's no coincidence that all have been tested in the majors, none more than Woods, who survived a patch of bogeys early to shoot par 70 and get another round closer to a 15th major title.

"I know that it takes a bit out of us, but so be it," Woods said. "Much rather be there than missing cuts or just making the cut. So it's a wonderful place to be with a chance to win your nation's open."

Just when this U.S. Open was starting to look like child's play, a trio of major champions took it back.

Furyk, nine years removed from his title at the U.S. Open, hit a 40-foot birdie from off the third green in the morning on his way to 69. Woods and Toms, the former PGA champion who showed a steady hand with the putter for 70, joined him in the afternoon when the conditions were fiery and emotions were frayed.

They were the only under par for 36 holes at 1-under 139.

And they restored some sanity to a major that for a stunning moment was taken over by a 17-year-old. Beau Hossler went 11 holes without a bogey and took the outright lead for a bit. But he got lost in the thick rough and trees on the brutal front nine, dropping five shots in eight holes for 73, leaving him four shots out.

Not only did he stay in contention but another amateur, Hunter Hamrick, had the day's best round at 67 after closing with birdies at Nos. 17 and 18. He was at 4 over, tied for 18th. His was one of just seven subpar rounds out of 156 on the day.

Defending champ Rory McIlroy missed the cut for the fourth time in his past five tournaments. He set a U.S. Open 36-hole record last year at Congressional at 131. He was 19 shots worse at Olympic after Friday's 73.

"It wasn't the way I wanted to play," he said.

Also leaving San Francisco early were Luke Donald, the world's No. 1 player, Masters champion Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson, coming off a win last week at the St. Jude Classic.

"Whoever wins this golf tournament is going to be a great champion, somebody that's probably won events before, that can handle the emotions and can handle the adversity in a U.S. Open, and somebody with experience," Toms said. "At least that's what I think. You never know."

Woods, coming off his second win of the year at the Memorial, looks as strong as ever. His only regret was not taking advantage of having a wedge in his hand on the last three holes, all birdie opportunities that became pars.

With a wedge on the 18th, he came up well short and into a bunker, having to settle for par.

Pars aren't bad, though.

"This tournament, you're just plodding along," Woods said. "This is a different tournament. You have to stay patient, stay present, and you're just playing for a lot of pars. This is not a tournament where we have to make a bunch of birdies."

Graeme McDowell, the U.S. Open champion two years ago down the coast at Pebble Beach, dropped three shots on his last four holes for 72. Even so, he was two shots behind at 141, with recent LSU alum John Peterson (70), Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium (69) and Michael Thompson, the first-round leader who followed his opening 66 with 75.