Some of the biggest names in golf arrived back at the Olympic Club on Friday more concerned with avoiding the cut line than reaching the top of the leaderboard.
Welcome to the 112th U.S. Open!
The notoriously challenging course in San Francisco lived up to its reputation as the "graveyard of champions" during Round 1. Among the luminaries struggling by the Bay was world No. 1 Luke Donald, who scuffled to a nine-over par. The second-ranked player Rory McIlroy signed off a +7 while the No. 3 player, who rounded out an afternoon trio, Lee Westwood shot +3 on the round.
Among the few golfers to put together an impressive outing was Round 1 leader Michael Thompson, who finished at -4. The 27-year-old finished his day with a birdie and went into the clubhouse with the lead in just his third major.
Of course, Thompson's performance wasn't the one that everyone was talking about. The disciplined manner in which Tiger Woods attacked Olympic had everyone buzzing. Woods' 1-under par performance was juxtaposed against the erratic efforts delivered by Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson, who were paired with him.
After the trio had finished its 18 holes, Watson told reporters that "we saw the old Tiger today."
To the delight of fans, that same Tiger was back in action on Friday. Despite a rough patch in the middle of afternoon at Olympic, Woods headed for the clubhouse tied for the tournament lead with Jim Furyk at 1-under through 36 holes. Playing with the same discipline that he displayed in the first round, Tiger claimed the outright lead at one point only to fall back. Along the way, he was challenged by a 17-year-old amateur who briefly held the outright lead himself. Scroll down for a look back at Tiger's second round, the unlikely surge for the teenager Beau Hossler and Mickelson's fight to avoid the cut.
AS IT HAPPENED: TIGER'S ROUND 2:
|@ PGATOUR : Tiger Woods posts even-par 70, joins Jim Furyk in clubhouse lead at 1-under. Phil birdies to post 71, is T52 at +7. Bubba +9 (T77). #USopen|
Phil and Bubba both finish with a birdie on 18 to pull a stroke back. That looks like it could keep Phil around for the weekend at +7. And even Watson has an outside chance if the cut line moves as everyone else finishes up. The Masters champ is at +9.
Harrington sinks a fourth birdie of the day. He also has four bogies. He is at +4.
With a putt for the outright lead, Tiger rolls it several feet toward the hole but it won't bend right like he wants and skirts the left edge. He is as angry as he's been all day. That recovery chip is bit less lustrous. He taps in for par and stays level with Furyk and Toms as he heads for the 18th hole.
Phil had a very makeable birdie chance on 17, which he needs to drop below that cut line but it won't go down. He saves par but might have just missed a chance to save Saturday.
|@ DaveLewissports : Tiger's recovery on 17 amazing after ridiculous penalizing roll. #usopen #kcbsnews|
Woods chips back on to the green from that seemingly terrible spot with a terrific ball. Height was right, speed was right. He just lifts it up the hill and then gets a friendly roll.
"It was pretty special. I knew out there I was going well. I was looking at the leaderboard obviously. But it was pretty special. I saw my name up there on 2 under and I think the rest of the guys were 1 under. Um, it was amazing. I knew.. I feel comfortable out there, though. I mean, I never really got that nervous, other than the first tee shot, really. But in the middle of the round I felt very comfortable. [I] knew all my fans were supporting me so it was really special."
With his 2nd shot on No. 17, Woods' shot is too strong. It bounces at the front end of the green and rolls over the green, rolls right past the flag and down the end.. down.. down an incline and that's trouble. Tiger is displeased. He does keep his composure (relative to the Masters).
|@ PGATOUR : Alistair Presnell turns to the front side at Even today, and for the week. Played that stretch in even par yesterday. #USOpen|
The name-brand trio of Tiger, Phil and Bubba hits No. 17. Bubba needs a mini-miracle to come back tomorrow while Mickelson very likely needs back to back birdies to hit the 19th hole feeling good. Tiger is playing for the outright lead heading into the weekend.
|@ PrestonDarger : Tiger dancing in that sand trap....and still hits an incredible shot out of the bunker. #USOpen|
|@ PGATOUR : Beau Hossler responds to a +4 stretch with a chip-in birdie on No.7. Now +2 overall, T8 with Adams, Thompson, Choi & Jacobsen. #usopen|
With the wheels seeming to come off Hossler, the 17-year-old sinks a tough shot from the edge of the green. It come in hot but hits the cup and falls. And, there's the fist pump. That's a birdie and he's back at +2.
David Toms grabs a share of the lead on the par-3 13th hole. His birdie putt was uphill with slight left lean and he drained it. There are three at 1-under.
With Phil flirting with the cut, his par putts are nervy affairs from here on out.
T9 Jacobson +2Notables Near The Cut Line Mickelson +7
Rickie Fowler +8
There is no 10-stroke rule for the cut line at the U.S. Open this year. The top 60 go on regardless of score. Given the lack of anyone deep into the red, the cut line looks to be around +7. Phil Mickelson flirting with a free weekend as he and his trio come down the stretch for their day.
|@ dan_bcfc_93 : I believe +8 will make the cut, just looking at those on +7 who have quite a few holes left #USOpen #usopengolf #USOpenonSky|
At the very least, Tiger Woods is back in a tie for first place at the 2012 U.S. Open. It's also possible that he's back back. He caught Furyk with a short birdie putt on 13.
Hossler strikes a tree with his tee shot on the par-4 5th. He's coming off a double bogey. Will the stage eventually exert an impact on him?
After Hossler ran into heaps of trouble on 4, Furyk is back alone at the top of the board at -1. Woods is alone in second at even par while the 17-year-old joins the five others at +1.
|@ PatrickMcEnroe : Not right!! RT @JustinMStreet: Its weird seeing "your" #hashtag in use for another event. #usopen (cc: @usopen @usopengolf)|
|@ Bobatscoregolf : Nice birdie by Tiger. I don't think he's intimidated by Beau Hossler any more. #usopen|
Tiger allows himself a small moment of exultation after holing a 30-foot birdie putt to get back to even for the tournament. He's now in sole possession of third place and only a stroke back of Hossler and Furyk.
Hossler misses a putt for par on 11, after having nicely put himself into that position after landing in the bunker. He taps in for bogey and shares the lead with Furyk.
After holing a very long birdie putt, Paddy Harrington with a beauty of a tee shot on the par-3 8th hole. He'll have a chance to shave another stroke off his +4.
Our teenage leader fires his second shot on the par-4 2nd hole into the bunker. Can he keep it together?