McDowell Leads; Mickelson Charges at U.S. Open
The alarm went off at 4:20 on Friday morning, awakening Graeme McDowell, the man from Portrush, Northern Ireland, and setting in motion a most remarkable chain of events in the second round of the United States Open at the Pebble Beach Golf Links. callaway ft-iz driver David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Tiger Woods hit his shot on the 11th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open on Friday.
When the reverberations died down around dusk, McDowell’s early-morning round of three-under-par 68 had vaulted him into the lead at three-under 139, two strokes clear of a whole new cast of characters tied for second at one under par, including Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, the 25-year-old bomber Dustin Johnson and the 18-year-old Japanese sensation, Ryo Ishikawa.
“It was definitely a rude awakening,” callaway x-24 hot irons McDowell said of his wake-up call, but the reference could be easily applied to the championship shake-up that took place all over the Monterey Peninsula on a chilly, misty day that seemed mailed in from Northern Ireland just for him. McDowell bogeyed his first, third and last holes of the day, and sprinkled six birdies on the rest of the softer Pebble Beach to grab the lead. It was a 40-footer for birdie at the nightmarish 14th hole, titleist 2010 ap2 irons his fifth, that really jump-started things for the 30-year-old McDowell, who vaulted into first from a tie for 10th.
“That kind of got my day going,” he said. “I played lovely after that, gave myself a ton of chances, generally played smart, hit fairways and greens and really tried to keep it below the hole as much as possible.” That was very much the same strategy employed by Mickelson, who emerged from the fog with the lowest round of the tournament so far, a five-under 66, that brought him back from an opening 75. taylormade r9 super tri driver Mickelson also birdied six holes, bogeying just one in a solid ball-striking and putting round. “I thought something in the 60s was out there and would get me into contention,” Mickelson said. “I knew I needed to get off to a quick start, because the first seven holes are the birdie holes and I needed to capitalize on that. “I think birdieing the second hole, even though it was only a three-footer, it was uphill, x22 irons I was able to be aggressive roll it in, see a birdie putt roll in, and it just gave me some confidence about making a couple more after that. It led to a good round.” Ishiner He birdied the third hole, the fourth from eight feet, the sixth from seven feet and, after missing a makeable putt at the short seventh hole, he made short work of No. 8, one of tournament golf’s most difficult par-fours. He hit a 4-iron off the tee to within two steps of the chasm, calmly hit his approach 18 feet below the hole, and made the putt. He missed a par putt of about six feet to bogey the ninth hole for the only blemish on his card, and his outgoing 31 was also the best of the week on the front nine. callaway x22 One golfer who might have been surprised by Mickelson’s round was Tiger Woods, who shot a one-over 72 and is at four over, seven strokes off the pace. Woods said he was happy with his position — “I feel very good, I’m right there and I’m only, what, seven back” — adding that he did not foresee anyone in the afternoon part of the draw shooting a round in the 60s because the greens would be bumpy. titleist ap2 They were a little bumpy, as Mickelson found when a couple of makeable putts on the back nine did not go in. But, ignoring the bumps, Mickelson somehow reduced his first-round total of 32 putts by seven, needing just 25 putts on Friday. “I knew I’d been putting well and it was just a minor tweak here or there that was needed,” Mickelson said. “Just a minor adjustment in the setup and the ball is rolling on line now.”
Els had a similar improvement in putting, from 33 in the opening round to 25 Friday. He was rolling the ball with authority, ap2 irons looking the way he did earlier this year when he won twice in Florida. Eighty-three players made the cut at seven over. Some notable absentees for the weekend include Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (75-77); Stephen Ames (74-84); Y. E. Yang of South Korea (73-83) and Geoff Ogilvy of Australia (79-71).