Sprightly McDowell launches a charge; Northern Irishman in good form.
NORTHERN Ireland's Graeme McDowell was forging ahead at the 110th US Open as the second round continued in California yesterday. Celtic Manor Wales Open champion McDowell had started the day on level par at Pebble Beach Golf Links but reached the turn at two under thanks to an eventful four-birdie, two-bogey opening nine holes from the 10th tee.
That left the 30-year-old a shot behind first-round co-leader Brendon De Jonge of Zimbabwe, who had jumped out into the outright lead after beginning the day in a tie at two under par with England's Paul Casey and American Shaun Micheel following opening 69s.
Both McDowell and De Jonge had started their rounds at the 10th tee with the Zimbabwean at four under after six holes before recording three bogeys in the next four holes to find himself at one under having played 11.
McDowell, meanwhile, was striking out on his own, and having gone out in 34, two under for the day, he added more birdies at the par-four fourth and par-five sixth.
With three holes to play the Portrush man held a three-shot lead at four under par over De Jonge, Dustin Johnson, who had played 12 holes, and Germany's Alex Cejka, after 15, with the afternoon wave of players set to start their second rounds.
Micheel had birdied his second, the par-four 11th, to reach three under and was the first to show on a much cooler, cloudier morning. The American did not build on his early success, however, with four bogeys including three in a row after his turn, at the first, second and third, to fall to one over par.
World number nine Casey had made a steady start with pars at his first four holes, only to card a triple-bogey eight at the 14th. Casey was having a bumpy ride from there, getting back to level par for the week with a birdie at the 15th, then bogeying 17 before a birdie at the par-five 18th and he was still at level par after 13 holes.
Following his opening, three-over-par 74, Tiger Woods seemed to make a brighter start yesterday, and playing alongside England's Lee Westwood, also three over, and Ernie Els (two over), he started well with a birdie at the 11th. He gave the shot back at the next hole with a bogey at the par-three 12th while Els birdied the 11th and 13th and world number three Westwood parred his first three holes.
Westwood hit trouble at the most difficult hole on the course, the par-five 14th, when he three-putted for bogey to fall back to three over, Els also bogeying to return to one over, while Woods birdied.
Westwood birdied the 15th and then had an excellent chance at the par-three 17th as he sent his tee shot to around six feet, only to roll his birdie putt four feet past the hole.
The Englishman saved a valuable par as Woods and Els, who both missed the green off the tee, settled for bogey.
Roles were reversed at the 18th, though, as Westwood bogeyed while Els birdied 18 and Woods parred.
There followed another bogey at the first for the European number one while Woods followed suit at the second to leave both men at four over.
STRIKING OUT Graeme McDowell hits his tee shot on the 18th hole