The 2019 U.S. Open is set for an enthralling finish, with some of the world's finest golfers positioning themselves well at the halfway point of the competition.
Gary Woodland is setting the pace after two days of play at Pebble Beach, California, with his excellent six under par round on Friday putting him on nine under overall. He's two clear of Englishman Justin Rose, who will go out with the American in the final pairing on Saturday.
Along with Rose, there is a glut of major winners within striking distance of Woodland, with Louis Oosthuizen just three shots back and Rory McIlroy four behind Woodland. Brooks Koepka, who has won the last two U.S. Open titles, is only five behind.
Oddschanger shared the top of the leaderboard:
For a live look at the standings during Saturday's play, visit the U.S. Open website.
Woodland Two Clear at Pebble Beach
On a day when birdies were hard to come by at a challenging course, Woodland was able to thrive.
His score of 65 on Saturday was not bettered by any player in the field, and it propelled the 35-year-old to the top of the standings following his solid 68 to open the tournament.
At a course where approach play is so important, Woodland struck his irons with precision and was ruthless with his putter. He even holed a 50-foot putt at the last to extend his lead over Rose to two shots.
The competition Twitter account shared the best moments from Woodland's round:
Per golf statistician Jason Sobel, he is beginning to look more at ease on the big stage:
It will be intriguing to see if his game holds up under what is inevitable pressure over the weekend, as some of the grandest names in the sport are in close proximity.
Rose triumphed at the 2013 U.S. Open, and his game appears in good order going into the weekend following an opening 65 on Thursday and a solid 70 on Friday.
McIlroy will be another one to watch on Days 3 and 4, as he's been playing to a high standard this year and excelled a week ago to win the Canadian Open at a canter. The European Tour noted the omens were good for McIlroy after his start at Pebble Beach:
Other names are lurking with menace further down the leaderboard, and Koepka can't be counted out given his record in majors—he's won four of the last eight—and there'll be nervousness up the leaderboard if he starts making gains on Saturday.
Tiger Woods is nine back after an inconsistent tournament. The Tiger Tracker feed thinks the 15-time major champion has missed his chance:
Oosthuizen appears at ease at Pebble Beach and is looking to add to his solitary major, which he won at the Open in 2010.
Aaron Wise, who is just 22 years old, can also enter the weekend with no fear. The 2018 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year continues to make strides, and he'll be confident of at least bettering his best major finish so far, which was 17th at the Masters earlier in the year.
Tournament Predictions: 1. McIlroy, 2. Rose, 3. Woodland