Its Just Another US Open - Naturally

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TULSA, OKLA. - A South African is tied for the lead, and he doesnt even play in the U.S. full time. Tiger Woods is nine shots back, finishing the first two rounds at 5-over-par. Phil Mickelson had a hole-in-one and a chip-in for birdie, but could do no better by days end than 1-under.

Sounds like another U.S. Open, where the unlikely is sure to become the likely.
 
The South African, Retief Goosen, is tied with Mark Brooks and J.L. Lewis for the lead at Southern Hills Country Club at 4-under-par 136. The non-finishers will complete round 2 at 7 a.m. Saturday, then the cut will be made and the championship will get back on schedule by the afternoon, when the leaders go off somewhere around 3 p.m. Central time.
 
Brooks fired a 64 after opening with a 72 on the par-70 course. That is the low round of the championship, coming on a red-hot front side of 30.
 
Check out Mark Brooks' scorecard
 
I kept it in play and lag-putted pretty good, said the 1996 PGA champion. I hit a handful of weak iron shots, but generally they found pretty good places. And I only had two really difficult up-and-downs. Only two times was I off the green in trouble.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Brooks comments on his 2nd round
 
None of the three leaders has played particularly well this year. Goosen has missed three cuts in Europe in his last six starts, though he did tie for fifth in his last event, the Compass Group European Open. Brooks and Lewis have both had up-and-down years in the U.S. The two, both Texans, played together the first two rounds.
 
If youve got the lead with two or three holes to go, then maybe thats going to matter, said Lewis, downplaying the 36-hole lead. But right now, I dont think anybody is going to benefit themselves by looking at the leaderboard and trying to figure out what theyre going to do. Youve got to play one shot at a time.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Lewis comments on his 2nd round
 
In fourth place, just two shots out of the lead at 2-under-par, is a hot Sergio Garcia and Stewart Cink.
 
Woods was far down at 5-over, but he wasnt counting himself out.
 
Its a U.S. Open, and if you can get a good solid round, you get up on the leaderboard, he said. For example, what Brooksie is doing out there. You shoot 6-under and youre going to move up the board.
 
Thats what happens when you play a golf course thats set up this difficult. Thats the beauty of it. You play a good solid round, youre going to move up the board.
 
David Duval is another one whos lurking around the lead. He shot 70-69 and stands 1-under as he enters Round 3. He has rested for three weeks, which he says is most advantageous.
 
I decided to stay home and as much as anything, not hit balls, because I would have had plenty of time, ten days before, to come here, Duval said.
 
But actually, it was good for me to stay home and hit balls in the middle of the afternoon, when it was really hot. And through that time, I hit a lot of shots and worked on my alignment, and it really felt good this week. Ive been pleasantly surprised.
 
Fifty-six-year-old Hale Irwin started the morning tied with Goosen for the lead at 3-under, but he didnt tee off until late in the afternoon and by that time he had lost all his momentum. He bogeyed three of his first five holes and six of his first 12, and stands at 2-over after birdieing 18 for the second time.
 
The pace of play was very slow and I struggled to find a little momentum, he said But that is an excuse. I didnt hit my woods very well, didnt hit my irons very well, and didnt putt very well.
 
But if you had told me before the tournament that Id be 2-over ' thats where Id be if I shot 71 each day ' Id be ecstatic. If I can shoot what I did yesterday (67) over the next two, we might have a little fun.
 
I think the guys that teed off late on Thursday probably had the better end of the deal, said Jim Furyk, who was in at even-par 70 and played late Thursday, finishing up Friday morning. We got to play more holes with the good weather right now.
 
I could see where guys can get hot, and if youre playing well, the greens are so nice right now and holding. I can see a guy really playing well.
 
Goosen was sidelined with a broken right arm thanks to a skiing accident early in 1999, but has been rock-solid this week. He reached 6-under-par in the first round before stumbling with bogeys on the last two holes. The second round he shot even-par 70, unreeling 12 straight pars to start the round.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Goosen comments on his 2nd round
 
Obviously, Id like to come over here, but I'm in no rush, he said. If I do play well enough to get my card to play over here, then Ill consider it to play. I like Europe and I like the different things on the European Tour. I like it over here as well.
 
The weather is very nice. Its just like South Africa. But Im in no rush. If I do well enough to get here, Ill make a plan.
 
Full-field scores from the 101st U.S. Open