Woods, Koepka chasing Rose as US Open 2nd round begins
Pebble Beach (United States) (AFP)
Pebble Beach looked primed for another scoring onslaught Friday, as Justin Rose headed out on a misty morning aiming to build on his record-tying first-round 65 in the US Open Golf Champinship.
England's Rose teed off alongside Tiger Woods at 8:24 am on No. 10.
"Off of 10, right away we've got a tough par-four right from the get-go," noted Woods, who struggled with his irons Thursday but one-putted 11 greens to finish one-under par."We have the harder side to start off on."
Although he started out five adrift, in the damp, overcast conditions, the 15-time major champion could look forward to another day of ideal scoring conditions.
Woods had a ringside seat as Rose matched the lowest US open round ever posted at Pebble Beach -- Woods' own first-round 65 on the way to a davastating 15-shot victory in 2000.
Rose closed birdie-birdie-birdie on Thursday to vault to the top of a leaderboard that featured 39 rounds under par, with 14 players within three shots of the lead.
Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and 22-year-old Aaron Wise, both of South Africa, and Americans Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele were a stroke back on 66 and Americans Scott Piercy and Nate Lashley were at four-under.
A group of eight on three-under 68 included four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, reigning Open Champion Francesco Molinari and 2016 British Open winner Henrik Stenson.
The US Golf Association, which faced withering criticism over conditions bordering on uplayable on the wind-dried greens at Shinnecock Hills last year, kept Pebble Beach generously watered during the hot, sunny practice days.
Come tournament time, the Pacific kicked in with a damp "marine layer" of cloud, but McIlroy warned that Pebble Beach would certainly toughen up.
"All this golf course needs is just a little tweak here and there, and it can play a lot more difficult," said McIlroy, who is aiming to add to his cache of four major titles for the first time since 2014.
"So while the conditions are this benign and the golf course is still sort of soft and slow, you need to take advantage of it.
Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka, who opened with a 69, was also off early on Friday, opening with a par at the 10th.
Koepka was among 15 players starting the day at two-under. That included Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, who won the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2010.
"I don't think level par wins this week," McDowell said, "I really don't.
"I feel like the fairways are soft and they're not going to get any fierier than this," he said.
"But I fully expect the greens to get firmer and faster," added McDowell, who joked that the USGA was probably taking steps to insure that as soon as Scott Piercy got to five-under through six holes on Thursday morning.
"We were joking that the USGA radios were going off saying, 'Turn the water off now, you know, enough of this,'" McDowell said.
? 2019 AFP