For the second day in a row, a player tied the record for low round in a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. This time, it was Gary Woodland, who shot a bogey-free 65. It was the first time in Woodland’s major championship career that he recorded a round without a bogey or worse.
This will be the sixth time in Woodland’s career that he has held a 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour. He did not go on to win any of the previous five instances. That includes last summer’s PGA Championship, where he finished tied for sixth.
Justin Rose continued his blistering pace with the short game and sits one shot back entering the weekend. Rose leads the field in strokes gained short game through two rounds, and is 14-for-17 scrambling on the week. Solo second is the best 36-hole position in a major for Rose in more than 15 years (2004 Masters).
Rory McIlroy is firmly in contention entering the weekend at 5-under-par. This is just the second time in Rory’s career that he had started a U.S. Open with consecutive rounds in the 60s. The other instance came in 2011, when he went on to win.
Brooks Koepka’s chase for a third consecutive U.S. Open will continue into the weekend, as he shot 69 for the second consecutive day. Koepka is just the fourth defending U.S. Open champion to shoot in the 60s in each of the first two rounds, and the first to do it since Scott Simpson in 1988.
The 18th hole at Pebble Beach played significantly more difficult in the second round, with the field average jumping from 4.81 to 5.01. Only 67 percent of the field hit the green in regulation on Friday, while the hole featured the most penalizing rough on the course, at 0.68 strokes on average.
Tiger Woods has just three bogeys or worse through two rounds this week, the fewest he has ever had entering the weekend at the U.S. Open. That is small consolation to Tiger, though, who sits nine shots behind Woodland after 36 holes.
Gary Woodland’s score of -9 may have beaten Tiger’s 2000 score by a stroke, but was it more impressive? Woodland has gained 12.3 strokes over the field through two rounds this week. In 2000, Tiger gained 16.9.
The cut wound up at +2, one stroke off the lowest to par in U.S. Open history. Two years ago at Erin Hills and in 1990 at Medinah, it sat at +1.
History says it’s difficult to make a big run on the weekend to win the U.S. Open. 22 of the previous 23 U.S. Open champions were inside the top-six after 36 holes.