Tiger Woods edged a step closer to his 14th Major Championship title by moving two strokes clear of fellow American Rocco Mediate halfway through the 18 hole play-off to decide the outcome of the US Open Championship.
Woods, who continues to grimace through the pain of his left knee, offset two birdies with two bogeys to reach the turn in level par 35 on the South Course at Torrey Pines while Mediate mixed three bogeys with a lone birdie in bright morning sunshine.
Woods, US Open Champion in 2000 and 2002, seized the early advantage when Mediate bogeyed the par four first after hitting his approach into the front greenside bunker and missing a five foot to save par.
Mediate hit back at the par three third, coming within a whisker of a hole-in-one with a magnificent six-iron that ended up just 18 inches from the hole.
He tapped in for birdie while Woods bogeyed after getting a plugged lie in the front bunker off the tee and failing to get up and down for par.
Trailing by a shot, Woods got back to level when Mediate bogeyed the par four fifth after driving into a fairway bunker and then edged one ahead with his first birdie of the day at the sixth where his approach ended up six feet from the flag.
Woods pulled two clear with a birdie on the seventh but dropped a shot on the next. Momentum swung in Woods’ favour on the par five ninth however when he holed a crucial par putt only for Mediate to three putt for bogey to drop two behind at the turn.