European Tour members held three of the top four positions in the 100th U.S.Open when darkness brought a halt to the delayed second round at Pebble Beach. Tiger Woods picked up three shots in the 12 holes he was able to play to stand at 9 under par. He holds a three stroke lead over Miguel Angel Jiménez with Thomas Bjorn and Angel Cabrerra a further four strokes behind.
Bjorn's move was perhaps the most significant on a day of high scoring as he will restart on the 17th at two under par, one ahead of the overnight clubhouse leader Kirk Triplett.
It was well into the evening before Jiménez and Cabrerra were able to start their second rounds, but both faired well, Jiménez playing the first seven holes in one under and Cabrerra the front nine in level par.
José Maria Olazábal, Padraig Harrington and Michael Cambell complete the set of European Tour members in the top ten at the end of day two, all standing at level par mid way through their second rounds.
England’s Nick Faldo went through the whole gamut of emotions as he recorded a three over-par 74 second round. Faldo, the winner of three Opens and 3 Masters titles, but winless since the 1997 Nissan Open, opened with a two under-par 69 and was still two under the card through 13 holes of his second round before three bogeys in four holes dropped him to one over-par at the end of his second round.
That put him on 143, two shots behind clubhouse leader, Triplett, but ten shots adrift of first round leader, Tiger Woods, who opened with a six under-par 65 and was nine under after 12 when play was halted for the day.
Faldo might have been disappointed with his finish but he was still one of the few early starters to shoot close to level par on a day in which virtually the whole field found it almost impossible to come to terms with a hardening course and wind gusting to almost 20 mph. 1999 Master champion, Vijay Singh, who finished tied for 3rd place at last year’s US Open at Pinehurst did manage to get to the turn in 34 but, elsewhere, casualties abounded on a course which, even in calm conditions, is recognised as one of the toughest in American championship golf.
One of the major casualties was Colin Montgomerie, who started the day at level par through seven holes of his first round, finished with an opening two-over par 73 and then got it to level par through 25 holes before ballooning to five over-par through 34 holes. That put him well out of reach of the leaders but still with a realistic chance of making what would be his ninth US Open cut in-a-row.
Darren Clarke, winner this year of both the Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship and the Compass English Open finished on 4 over par after a 75 to confortably make the cut, but it was a different scenario for Jack Nicklaus, Bernhard Langer and Greg Norman who all finished well over par after rounds in the 80's.
Earlier, a first round that was seriously interrupted by fog ended with Miguel Angel Jimenez finishing as the leading European Tour member.
Jimenez opened with a five under-par 66 to be a single shot behind the leader, Tiger Woods, a shot ahead of America’s John Huston and two shots in front of an experienced American trio comprising Loren Roberts, Bobby Clampett and double US Open champion, Hale Irwin.
England’s Nick Faldo and Argentina’s Angel Cabrera shared 7th place after recording opening 69s over the opening 18 holes with Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal and Demark’s Thomas Bjorn on 70 and Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Michael Campbell all on level par 71s.
Europe’s No. 1, Colin Montgomerie, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and America’s Bob May, winner of the 1999 Victor Chandler British Masters, were tied on 73 with South Africa’s Ernie Els on 74 and Spain’s Sergio Garcia both on 75.
Further down the list, Jean Van de Velde and Bernhard Langer were on 76 and Retief Goosen, Greg Norman and Jarmo Sandelin were all on 77.