SAN FRANCISCO — Just when this U.S. Open was starting to look like child’s play, Tiger Woods led a trio of tested champions who took it back Friday.
Woods, another round closer to a serious shot at his 15th major, overcame three consecutive bogeys on the front nine for even-par 70. Jim Furyk, nine years removed from his U.S. Open title outside Chicago, plodded his way around Olympic for 1-under 69. Former PGA champion David Toms kept a steady presence in his round of 70.
They were the only three players who remained under par going into the weekend.
And they restored some sanity to the toughest test in golf after a brief, stunning moment when 17-year-old Beau Hossler found himself alone in the lead. The kid went 11 holes without making a bogey until he got lost in the thick rough and the trees on the brutal front nine of Olympic and had to settle for 73.
Woods had to be close to his best simply to break par through 36 holes.
“Well, that was not easy,” Woods said. “That golf course was some kind of quick. … You had to stay as patient as possible.”
They were at 1-under 139. Everyone else in the field was over par.
Graeme McDowell, the U.S. Open champion two years ago down the coast at Pebble Beach, dropped three shots on his last four holes for 72.
Even so, he was very much in the hunt two shots behind at 141, along with recent Louisiana State University alum John Peterson (70), Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium (69) and Michael Thompson, the first-round leader whose 75 was nine shots worse.
“It’s just tough to have fun out there,” McDowell said.
Woods is coming off his second win of the year two weeks ago at the Memorial, and is right where he wants to be after 36 holes.
“A long way to go,” he said.