Italy’s Francesco Molinari and England’s Lee Westwood moved up the leaderboard at The US Open Championship as the remainder of the field belatedly got their second rounds under way at Bethpage Black.
Following the torrential rain which caused an early abandonment on Thursday, half of the 156 strong field were made to wait until Saturday morning to begin their second round.
And with more stormy weather set to envelop Long Island in the afternoon, they knew it would be essential to get their rounds off to a flying start if they were to get anywhere near the clubhouse lead of eight under - held by American Ricky Barnes.
Molinari, starting at the tenth, picked up shots at the 11th and 14th holes to move to two under for the day and one under overall.
Westwood also started his round on the back nine and birdied his opening three holes to get to one under.
A bogey at the 15th halted the 36 year old’s progress somewhat, but he remained in a tie for 15th at level par.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell was on one over through 11 holes after dropping two shots in his second round.
He was joined by Henrik Stenson and Geoff Ogilvy, who were both making solid progress having carded 73s in round one.
World number one Tiger Woods and Masters Tournament champion Angel Cabrera were on three and four over respectively through nine holes - putting them just the right side of the projected cut mark.
Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington had a little work to do, however, as he remained on six over for the tournament.
Earlier in the day, Barnes had surged into the lead by completing a bogey free second round of 65.
The former US amateur champion’s aggregate score of 132 was a new 36 hole record for the US Open - beating the record previously held by Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh who both shot 133 at Olympia Fields in 2003.
Overnight leader Lucas Glover also managed to keep a bogey off his card as he completed his second round in 64 strokes, putting him a shot behind Barnes on seven under.
Canada’s Mike Weir, who led after round one, was a further shot back on six under after posting a 71.
Sweden’s Peter Hanson also carded a 71 - puting him in a tie for fourth at three under with former world number one David Duval and Japan’s Azuma Yano.
Hanson has been struggling with a neck injury throughout the week, but insisted: “I can still play. I'm going to play anyway.
“My chances are as good as anyone else. I love playing the Majors and I think that my record on the tougher golf courses over the last few years, I've simply been playing better.”
England’s Ross Fisher was one of four men at two under after following his opening 70 with a round of 68.
He was also feeling confident and said: “I am coming here with the firm believe that I can win the tournament.
“I feel ready to win a Major. I have won twice and should have won a number of times more than because I have been in position then failed at the closing stretch.
“I feel like my game is ready to compete and I am ready to get into contention come Sunday.”
Sergio Garcia posted a second successive 70 to stay on level par, one ahead of South Africa’s Retief Goosen, a two-time US Open winner.
Denmark’s Soren Hansen was also on one over after dropping three shots on his return to the course this morning, while 20 year old Rory McIlroy posted 70 in his second round remain two over.
The 20 year old Northern Irishman said after his round: “I'm going back to bed. The earliest they will send us off is 5:30 (10:30 BST), I think. So I'm going to go back to the hotel and get back in bed and just chill out because I only got about five hours of sleep last night.”