Gary Woodland may be leading the way heading into the weekend at the U.S. Open Championship but there was a strong European Tour challenge after an eventful day two at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Here is everything you need to know from Friday in California.
Woodland puts on a show
Gary Woodland has clearly found his feet in Major Championships after a difficult start to life in golf's big four events. After making his Major debut a decade ago at this event, the American played 26 more before achieving a top ten at last season's US PGA Championship. Another top ten last month at Bethpage State Park BK Course made it two in three Majors and he will now take a two shot lead into the weekend on the west coast. He was blemish free with six birdies - including a stunning 50 foot putt on his final hole - on Friday but he had a strong chasing pack in his rear view mirror.
The @GaryWoodland cheatsheet:— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) June 15, 2019
- 2nd Major lead after 36 holes (previous 2018 PGA Championship)
- 6 leads worldwide after 36 holes, but 0/6 converting
- 2 Top 10 finishes in Majors (2018 and 2019 PGA Championship)
- Leads SG Putting at +7.18 pic.twitter.com/NDiYfTj4Tw
Rose continues to bloom
For a long time it looked like Justin Rose would be the man to lead the way into the weekend as he followed up his day one 65 with a 70 to open up a two shot clubhouse lead. Woodland's brilliant performance may have pushed the 38-year-old into second but Rose has won this event before and will not be overawed by the challenge of a Major weekend. "No expectations for the weekend, really," he said. "I like my position, I like the golf course, I like the way I’m trending. I still don’t feel like I’m clicking but if I can find that gear hopefully I can hoist some silverware."
McIlroy bounces back
Another confident player with Major pedigree is Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman is looking for a fifth Major victory this week and arrives off the back of a win just five days ago on the US PGA Tour. He got within one shot of the lead after 12 holes on Friday but followed a bogey with a double before hitting back with two birdies to sit just four shots behind Woodland. "It's the best I've felt about my game in a while for sure," said McIlroy. "To be in the position I am going into the weekend, I would have taken that at the start of the day."
Tough b-rake for Spieth
Jordan Spieth was making his almost customary Major charge on Friday as he turned in 33 after starting on the back nine to close in on the leaders. His tee shot on the second found the sand and he then had an awful slice of luck as his bunker shot hit a rake hidden in the long grass above the lip of the sand trap. After advancing the ball just 15 yards, Spieth surrendered a bogey but he was not blaming anyone else for the bizarre incident. “That’s on me,” he said. “I’ve just got to look at all options ahead of me. And if there’s rakes in front of the bunker, typically we pull them out. But when I was in it, I couldn’t see it. So it was kind of a weird set of events. I was trying to clear it (the lip of the bunker) higher than that anyways but you don’t see that every day. It was a tough break where it ended up after it hit the rake but that happens, it’s a U.S. Open, you have to take it on the shoulder."