PEBBLE BEACH – Justin Rose, aiming to build on his record-equalling first-round 65, stretched his lead early in the second round of the US Open at Pebble Beach on Friday.
On a misty morning on the Monterey Peninsula, Rose opened with five straight pars before his first birdie of the day at the par-four 15th.
He got up and down for a birdie from a greenside bunker at the par-five 18th to reach eight-under with nine to play.
The steady effort came on the heels of Rose’s late surge in his six-under first round, in which three straight birdies to finish saw him match the lowest round ever posted in a US Open at Pebble Beach.
Rose’s nearest pursuers had yet to tee off, with Rickie Fowler, Louis Oosthuizen and Xander Schauffele, who carded first-round 66s, all in the afternoon wave.
Birdies remained plentiful and 39 players were under par, but no one was able to mount an extended charge.
American Chesson Hadley had three birdies in his first five holes to reach six-under before a double-bogey at the 15th. He was four-under with six to play after a bogey at the third.
Aaron Wise of the United States – who was born in Cape Town – started the day five-under, but was slowed by a double-bogey at the seventh and was five shots back through 14.
American Matt Kuchar reaching five-under with three birdies in his first nine holes, but fell back with a double-bogey at the 10th.
Tiger Woods, playing alongside Rose and trying to make up a five-shot overnight deficit, rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt at the 11th, his second hole of the day.
Eight pars saw the 15-time major champion him make the turn at two-under – six adrift of Rose.
Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka started the day two-under, and remained there after a birdie and a bogey in his first nine holes.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, and reigning British Open champion Francesco Molinari, who were among eight players who began the day at three-under, were both even for the day with one birdie and one bogey in their first nine holes.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who was also three-under after the first round, was due out at 1.36pm.
McIlroy is coming off a victory at the Canadian Open last week, trying to become the first player to follow a US PGA Tour victory with US Open triumph.
Phil Mickelson, seeking the elusive US Open title that would complete his career grand slam, was targeting a round in the 60s after a one-over 72 on Thursday.
“I’m playing well enough to do it,” said the 48-year-old, who won the PGA Tour’s National Pro-am at Pebble Beach in February.
“It’s the best I’ve played in a long time, certainly since the start of the year.
“If I’m patient, I’ll get better as the week goes on. The goal is just to get within striking distance for Sunday.”AFP