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Tiger Woods shares lead, but it's a slippery slope at the Open

Jim Furyk and David Toms, both major championship winners, are tied with Woods at one under par on a 'brutal' Olympic Club layout.

June 15, 2012|By Jeff Shain
  • Tiger Woods lines up a putt during the second round of the U.S. Open.
Tiger Woods lines up a putt during the second round of the U.S. Open. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )

SAN FRANCISCO — Tiger Woods surged into theU.S. Open lead, fell and rose again. A 17-year-old Californian had his day in the sun — and 15 minutes or so when no one else was even his equal.

Michael Thompson quickly lost his first-round lead. David Toms hung in the background all afternoon, silently looming.

Through all the musical chairs, Jim Furyk had the best seat for Friday afternoon's session at the Olympic Club: indoors, done for the day.

The 2003 U.S. Open champion's one-under-par 69 in the morning ensured that someone would get to the midway point in red numbers. Woods and Toms matched him, while Olympic continued to beat down several of golf's high-profile names.

"I'm not sure I enjoy getting my brains beat in on the golf course for four days," said Furyk, who never led until he was long finished. "But as difficult as it is, I understand this style of golf, and when I'm playing well, it suits my game."

Woods and Toms both carded afternoon 70s, joining Furyk at one-under 139 through two rounds.

Woods endured a roller-coaster round in which he briefly took the lead with a birdie at No. 3, then skidded to three consecutive bogeys at Nos. 5-7.

A 25-foot birdie putt to start the back nine put him on the upswing again, and he rejoined Furyk at the top with another birdie at No. 13. But he had to endure three tough pars down the home stretch, battling his way from a bunker at No. 16, a long roll-off down a slope at No. 17 and another bunker at No. 18.

Compared with his opening 69, Woods called Friday's round "probably better."

"It's just one of those days where you had to be so patient," he said. "You leave [an approach] short on some of these holes, and it's rolling back 40 or 50 yards. Then you wind up in the deep rough."

No one else could come home in even par. 2010 Open champion Graeme McDowell (72), John Peterson (70), Nicolas Colsaerts (69) and Thompson (75) were next at one over, with Blake Adams (70) another stroke back.

"You have to realize at the U.S. Open par is a really good score and you're going to make some bogeys," said Furyk, who won the 2003 Open at Olympia Fields outside Chicago.

The real surprise came when 17-year-old Beau Hossler stood alone at the top.

The amateur — still a year away from entering college — scored two early birdies that moved him to two under and in front of everyone, only to run into Olympic's gantlet as he turned from back side to front.

He wound up shooting a 73 and is four shots back.

"I really am glad with how I played the last couple days," Hossler said, "but I've got a long way to go. There's some things I've really got to tighten up for the next couple of days."

At least he gets to hang around for the weekend. Olympic's sun-kissed fairways disguised a layout that showed little mercy.

World No. 1 Luke Donald, defending champion Rory McIlroy and Masters titleholder Bubba Watson all missed the cut. Phil Mickelson sneaked in with a shot to spare, using a closing birdie to limp across at seven over.

"I'm going to have to shoot quite a bit under par to make a run on this course," Mickelson said, "and it's really tough to do because you've got to make 40- or 50-footers. There's just not a lot of holes to make birdies on."

Said McDowell: "My day was equally as unenjoyable as yesterday. It's tough to have fun out there, I have to be honest with you. It's just a brutal test of golf."

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