Justin Rose leads by two shots heading to the weekend after round of 70 on Friday, while Tiger Woods falls seven shots behind
Rose, the 2013 champion at Merion, shot a one-under round of 70 on Friday morning to take a two-shot lead at seven-under after 36 holes. Woods, meanwhile, let several birdie opportunities get away and had to settle for a one-over 72. The three-time U.S. Open champion is currently in a tie for 37th at even-par for the tournament.
Rose equaled Woods’ Pebble Beach record of 65 on Thursday and picked up right where he left off today. Starting on the 10th hole, Rose made his first birdie of the round at the 15th after hitting his approach to five feet from the first cut of rough. He got up-and-down from the greenside bunker at the par-five 18th for his second birdie and went to eight-under for the tournament making the turn.
His first bogey came at the first hole. A wayward iron shot off the tee left him in thick rough and with little option but to chip back into the fairway. Rose made up for it at the next hole when his approach shot from 186 yards got a fortunate hop off the mound to the right of the green and rolled to just three feet from the cup.
Rose dropped another shot at the fourth hole after being forced to take a drop when his tee shot rolled over the cliff. He managed to par the remaining holes to retain his lead heading into the weekend.
For Woods, it was a round of missed chances. He birdied the 11th hole, his second of the round, spinning his approach back to within 10 feet and holing the putt. The remainder of the round, though, provided only frustration. He failed to birdie the par-five 14th when his third shot spun back off the green. At the difficult par-three 17th he hit his approach to 14 feet but his putt for birdie just slid by the right edge of the cup. Another seven-foot birdie putt at the fourth hole also slid by.
Woods made 14 straight pars and was looking for his first bogey-free round at the U.S. Open since 2000 before finally dropping a shot at the eighth, his penultimate hole of the day. His approach to the most difficult hole on the course went well right of the green, and when he missed a 15-foot putt to save par he carded his first bogey in 30 holes. He also bogeyed the ninth hole after driving into a fairway bunker, finishing seven shots behind Rose. Despite just the one birdie, Woods hit 13 greens in regulation but needed 32 putts, 99th in the field.
It was a steady if unspectacular round for both Rose and Woods, but the same cannot be said of the third member of their group, Jordan Spieth. The 2015 U.S. Open champion made seven birdies on Friday and five bogeys, finishing with a two-under round of 69. At one-under through 36 holes he’s currently in a tie for 25th. Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka equaled his two-under round from yesterday and is in seventh place at four-under.