Friday, 19 March 2010
U.S. Open - Round Two  (Getty Images)
U.S. Open - Round Two (Getty Images)

England's Lee Westwood defied difficult conditions at Bethpage Black to move into contention at the halfway stage of The US Open Championship.

As persistent rain returned to the Long Island municipal during the afternoon, it was no surprise to see many of the later starters struggle on the commencement of their delayed second rounds.

Westwood, however, started his round from the tenth with three successive birdies and, after bogeys at the 15th and 17th, he picked up three more shots on the front nine to post a gutsy 66 - taking him into a tie for seventh at two under.

A number of the field took to the course later in the day to begin their third rounds, but play was soon abandoned for the day as the rain became significantly heavier - causing several greens to become waterlogged.

After his second round, Westwood said: “That start was like having credit. It’s certainly like that when you birdie the first three of a US Open course because you know that you are going to drop a shot here and there.

“I only missed two fairways today and two greens like I did yesterday – the only difference was that the putts dropped today.

“I don’t know what to expect next with this championship – I am actually just happy to have got two rounds in because the forecast was so bad for this afternoon. It’s good to be in and looking like getting the third round started.”

Ricky Barnes remained clear at the top on eight under having completed a bogey free round of 65 earlier in the day.

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.

Barnes' fellow countryman Lucas Glover also avoided any dropped shots in his second round as he moved to seven under, while Canada’s Mike Weir remained at six under following a level par 71.

Sweden's Peter Hanson was tied for fourth at three under alongside former world number one David Duval and Japan's Azuma Yano - who shot a stunning 65.

Ross Fisher, meanwhile, was alongside Westwood and three others at two under after following his opening 70 with an impressive 68.

Along with Westwood, American Steve Stricker was the pick of the afternoon starters and moved to one under after picking up five birdies in his 66.

Australia's Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open winner, also climbed up the leaderboard during the afternoon - a 67 taking him to level par alongside Spain’s Sergio Garcia.

However, Ogilvy slipped to two over on the resumption of play courtesy of bogeys at the first and third.

England’s Oliver Wilson enjoyed a more profitable start to his third round and moved to one under, with birdies at the first, second and fourth outweighing a double bogey at the par three third.

Soren Hansen and Retief Goosen also picked up shots at the third and fourth respectively to move from one over to level par.

Graeme McDowell and Francesco Molinari ended their second rounds at one over for the tournament, one ahead of US Open debutant Rory McIlroy.
 
The trio were also among those to begin their third rounds, with McDowell remaining on one over following two birdies and a double bogey and Molinari dropping back to join McIlroy on two over.

Henrik Stenson and Andres Romero finished their second rounds on three over, but dropped to four and five over respectively at the beginning of their third rounds.

Defending champion Tiger Woods could only complete one hole of his third round before play was suspended and remained on three over, while Ian Poulter and Johan Edfors were yet to begin having sneaked inside the cut mark at four over.

Martin Kaymer, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Luke Donald were not so lucky and missed out on five over, while Simon Dyson ended on eight over despite a spectacular eagle at the 1st, his tenth hole.

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington also missed the cut after carding a second successive 76 to finish on 12 over.

World number three Paul Casey and Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke (both ten over) were among the other high-profile names to fall short, along with two-time US Open winner Ernie Els, who finished on 15 over.

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