PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Gary Woodland finished off a bogey-free round by making birdie from a divot in the fairway, giving him a 6-under 65 for a two-shot lead and the lowest 36-hole score in the six U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach.
Woodland's seemingly perfect drive on the ninth hole settled into a deep divot, and he gouged out a shot from 217 yards onto the green and holed the 50-foot birdie putt.
His 65 matched the U.S. Open record at Pebble Beach for the second time in two days, a testament to a course that remained soft under low clouds. He was at 9-under 133, beating by one shot the 36-hole record at Pebble Beach that Tiger Woods set in 2000.
Woodland, with the 36-hole lead for the second time in four majors, led by two over Justin Rose, who had a 70.
Rose wasn't too bothered by two poor swings that slowed his momentum Friday in the U.S. Open. He had too many great par saves that kept him atop the leaderboard when he finished his second round at Pebble Beach.
Rose, leading by as many as four shots among the early starters, had to settle for a 1-under 70 that sends him into the weekend in good shape to pursue another U.S. Open. He was two shots ahead of Aaron Wise, who had an equal share of good and bad for a 71.
Tiger Woods was seven shots behind, and it felt like more.
Woods made a birdie on his second hole, and then missed everything else the rest of the day. Outside of his lone birdie from 10 feet on No. 11, he didn't make a putt longer than 5 feet.
Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka started slowly and finished with two late birdies for another 69. He was three shots behind in his bid to match a 114-year record with a third straight U.S. Open title.
Rose was at 7-under 135 as Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and others played in the afternoon.
“At this point, there's not a lot to worry about,” Rose said. “If you're one ahead, one behind, it's a lot of golf to be played. But it's the perfect spot after two days.”
For a short time, it looked as though it might be even better.
Conditions were roughly the same as the first round, with very little wind and cool clouds so thick that condensation felt like a light mist. Rose started slowly, even dropped his putter when a 12-foot birdie chance brazed the edge of the cup, his fifth straight par to start the round.
He reached 8 under for the tournament with a bold 7-iron into 3 feet for birdie on the par-4 second. He was four shots ahead, and his tee shot on No. 3 left him just 85 yards away from a front pin.
And that's when it turned.
Rose came up short of the green and had to scramble for par. Then, he was torn between driver or an iron off the fourth tee, never got settled and hit his iron over the edge of the cliff and into the ice plant.
That led to bogey, and it was all pars the rest of the way.
“I felt like the third hole, I lost a bit of momentum,” Rose said. “Great opportunity there. Was definitely a birdie opportunity, and then laid up in the hazard on No. 4. A bit of lapse of concentration there.”
But he didn't overlook the good, and there was plenty of that, especially for par. The biggest two were his final two holes, when Rose got up-and-down from choppy rough short of the eighth green, and 50-foot lag up the slope on the ninth green to end on a good note.
At Pebble Beach Golf Links
Yardage: 7,075; Par: 71
Gary Woodland 68-65–133 -9
Justin Rose 65-70–135 -7
Louis Oosthuizen 66-70–136 -6
Aaron Wise 66-71–137 -5
Rory McIlroy 68-69–137 -5