Woods grabs a share of the lead

Tiger Woods, David Toms and Jim Furyk hold the 36-hole lead at the US Open having scrapped their way to one-under-par.

Former Major winners Tiger Woods, David Toms and Jim Furyk hold the 36-hole lead at the US Open having scrapped their way to one-under-par.

The trio are the only men left under par after two rounds at the Olympic Course, with the world’s top two players, Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy – having missed the cut.

With the cut mark set at eight-over-par, defending champion McIlroy followed his 77 on Thursday with a much-improved 73 on Friday to end on ten-over for the tournament. Donald was one stroke further adrift, with the Englishman adding a 72 to his first round 79.

For both players the damage was done on the opening day and they were left to rue a poor start. ”It wasn’t the way I wanted to play,” said an exasperated McIlroy.

Donald and McIlroy weren’t the only high-profile casualties in San Francisco, with Masters champion Bubba Watson’s second round 71 not enough to save him from falling one short of the cut mark. Dustin Johnson – who won last time out at the St Jude Classic – was another to miss out.

At the other end of the field, Woods bounced back strongly from three consecutive bogeys from the fifth to seventh hole to hit a par round of 70.

However, he will be frustrated not to have sole ownership of the lead after failing to capitalise on the easier closing holes, paring the final four where others were at last managing to shoot birdies.

Woods admitted that he had certainly been tested on the unforgiving course, but that he was happy to be in the hunt heading into the weekend.

”I know that it takes a bit out of us, but so be it,” he said. ”Much rather be there than missing cuts or just making the cut. So it’s a wonderful place to be with a chance to win your nation’s open.’

The former world number one is joined on one-under by Jim Furyk, who was one of only seven players to hit an under-par round, the 2003 US Open champion carding a 69.

Toms, looking to add to his PGA Championship win, shot a solid 70 with two birdies on the back nine cancelling out two bogeys on the front nine.

The 45-year-old admitted that having one a Major in the past will help him heading into the weekend’s running, with the Olympic Club providing some high-pressure action.

”Whoever wins this golf tournament is going to be a great champion, somebody that’s probably won events before, that can handle the emotions and can handle the adversity in a U.S. Open, and somebody with experience,” he said.

”Strange things can happen, but I would think that you would see a lot of that on the leaderboard come late Sunday.”

One man who will be relieved just to have made the cut is Phil Mickelson, who the leftie shooting a 71 to just scrape in on seven-over.

The early pace setters on Friday were former winner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and 17-year-old Beau Hossler.

McDowell’s up and down round of was enough for him to share the lead at one stage before closing bogeys on 15 and 16 set him back to one-over, level with John Peterson, Nicolas Colsaerts and first round leader Michael Thompson in the chasing pack two behind the leaders.

For the young Hossler it all seemed too good to be true as he was bogey-free after his first eleven holes only to drop five shots in his last seven. ”Unfortunately, I kind of lost it coming in,” he admitted.