Gary Woodland roars to top of U.S. Open leaderboard after 2 rounds

Gary Woodland hits from the fairway on the fourth hole during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament Friday, June 14, 2019, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt York)

A three-time winner on the PGA Tour but still in search of that elusive first major championship, former University of Kansas golf standout Gary Woodland roared his way to the top of the U.S. Open leaderboard on Friday.

Woodland, 35, fired a bogey-free 65 during Round 2 at famed Pebble Beach to move ahead of Justin Rose, who opened the second round with the lead.

Starting Friday’s round on the back nine, Woodland’s 6-under-par second round included two birdies on his first nine and four birdies on his second nine, three of which came on his final five holes of the day.

Woodland, at -9 for the tournament, takes a two-stroke lead over Rose (-7) into the weekend and is five shots clear of all but four golfers in the field heading into Round 3.

Friday’s second-round 65 by the Topeka native and 2007 KU grad tied for the lowest U.S. Open round at Pebble Beach, a feat achieved by Rose one day earlier and Tiger Woods back in 2000.

Woodland entered the week ranked ninth in the FedEx Cup Standings and enters the weekend looking to capture his first major crown and first PGA Tour win since winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2018.

The former Jayhawk opened the 2018-19 season on a hot streak of six Top 10 finishes in his first seven starts. At golf’s first two majors of the season, Woodland finished tied for 8th at the PGA Championship a month ago and tied for 32nd at The Masters in April.

Woodland, who shot a 3-under 68 in Round 1 on Thursday, will be paired with Rose, a 10-time PGA Tour winner, for the final two rounds of this week’s U.S. Open.

Rose, 38, won the U.S. Open in 2013 for his only major title to date. He also boasts four other Top 3 finishes at golf’s three other majors.

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