Mickelson Maruyama Tied After Two


SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. --Phil Mickelson fired a 4-under 66 on Friday to grab a share of the lead with Shigeki Maruyama after the second round of the 104th U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills. The duo is knotted with a 6-under-par 134 total.
Mickelson walked around Shinnecock commanding large galleries wherever he went. The New York crowds cheered loudly for the lefthander on every green, and Mickelson fed off the energy to assume control of the tournament early Friday in his quest for a second straight major title.
It's a great feeling to play here in New York,' said Mickelson. 'I was able to experience that this year at Augusta, and it's awesome, and the people here in New York have given us a wonderful ovation, and it's just been a lot of fun playing in front of everyone.'
The reigning Masters champion polished off a round of 68 in the morning after play was suspended Thursday night for fog. Mickelson got back to business soon after with a birdie at the opening hole of the second round.
The 34-year-old added a birdie at the eighth to keep pace with Angel Cabrera, who held the lead throughout the morning at 5 under par. At the par-4 12th, Mickelson dropped his approach inside 18 feet and ran home the putt for another birdie.
Mickelson kept on cruising and left his second shot to the par-5 16th in a greenside bunker. He hit out of the sand to five feet and converted the short birdie putt to open a two-shot advantage at minus-6.
At the par-4 18th, Mickelson found the fairway again off the tee and knocked his approach within 7 feet of the hole. He could not sink his birdie putt, however, and finished within one shot of the 36-hole scoring record at the U.S. Open established in 2003 by defending champion Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh.
'It's been a good first two rounds,' said Mickelson, who hit 11 of 14 fairways. 'I was able to keep it in play pretty well. I was feeling aggressive in my approach shots because they were coming from the fairway.'
Mickelson, who earned his first career major with a victory at the Masters after countless failed attempts, has carried his momentum from the 2004 campaign into Shinnecock and finds himself in a position he is all too familiar with this season.
'You're going to perform the way you prepare,' said Mickelson, who visited Shinnecock on multiple occasions before this week's championship. 'When I got here, I wasn't surprised by any situation.'
Maruyama, who had a piece of the lead after the second round of the 2002 British Open, started on the back nine and notched a birdie at the 13th and chipped in for a birdie at the par-3 17th to join Mickelson at minus-6.
The 34-year-old from Japan faltered with a bogey at the second, but sank a 6- foot putt for a birdie at the very next hole. At the par-5 fifth, Maruyama reached the green in two and took two putts for another birdie to take the outright lead at 7 under.
Maruyama played steady down the stretch with a couple of good par saves at the seventh and the eighth, but the par-4 ninth loomed. Maruyama found the rough off the tee and left his second shot short of the green in the fescue. He hit out to 10 feet and was unable to save par for a round of 68.
Tiger Woods, who played alongside Maruyama in the opening rounds, had a slow start on Friday and was actually moving backwards with a bogey at the 10th, his first.
The two-time U.S. Open champion picked up his first birdie of the day on the second half of the front nine with a 16-foot putt at the fifth. Woods built some momentum from that point on and added a birdie at the sixth to finish at 1-over-par 141.
'I figured just hang in there, be patient,' said Woods. 'It's the U.S. Open. It's just a matter of getting out there and doing it. Just keep hanging around, you never know.'
Jeff Maggert finds himself in contention again at his third U.S. Open appearance at Shinnecock. He missed the cut in 1986, but had a strong showing in 1995 with a tie for fourth.
The 40-year-old mixed a pair of birdies with a bogey on the front nine and picked up a short birdie at the par-3 11th. At the par-5 16th, Maggert rolled in a 10-foot putt for another birdie and a round of 67 to finish alone in third place at 5-under-par 135.
'There's two rounds to go, and the golf course is going to play extremely difficult over the next two days,' said Maggert. 'I've put myself in a position where I really wanted to be.'
Fred Funk also posted a 66 on Friday in the second round to finish two shots behind Mickelson and Maruyama at 4-under-par 136.
'I didn't have any high expectations,' said Funk. 'I was just hoping, and I'm still hoping.'
The 48-year-old started on the 10th and birdied the 16th to make the turn at 1 under. Funk, who missed the cut at both the 1986 and 1995 U.S. Opens at Shinnecock, picked up steam on the front side with a birdie at the second.
Funk then played his second shot to 3 feet for a birdie at the eighth and posted a birdie at the ninth, his last.
Retief Goosen, the 2001 U.S. Open champion at Southern Hills, kept the trend going with a 66 of his own to join Funk in a tie for fourth.
'Obviously, I know I can do it, and you've just got to,' Goosen said of competing at the U.S. Open. 'It's not going to be easier, but there's got to be a bit of luck on your side, too.'
Cabrera completed a round of 66 early Friday and continued to press for the lead in the second round. He played the backside first and collected a birdie and a bogey over his first six holes. After a long drive at the par-5 16th, Cabrera was left with a downhill lie and sent his second shot into a greenside bunker.
The Argentine hit out of the sand to 4 feet and made the putt to take the lead at minus-5. Cabrera found the fescue off the tee at the 18th, however, and opted not to play it safe en route to a double bogey.
'All the wrong shots,' Cabrera said.
Cabrera then tallied two bogeys and an eagle on the front side for a round of 71 to finish at 3-under-par 137.
Ernie Els, who is seeking his third U.S. Open title, parred his first four holes before he found his first birdie of the day at the fifth. The South African added a birdie at the sixth and made it three straight with a long birdie putt at the par-3 seventh.
At the par-4 eighth, Els hit his second shot to 7 feet and made the putt for his fourth consecutive birdie.
'That got me right back into it,' said Els.
Els cooled off on the inward half with a bogey at the 14th to join Cabrera in a tie for sixth.
'Obviously I'm thrilled to be where I am,' said Els, who shot a 67 on Friday. 'I felt good.'
Corey Pavin, the 1995 champion at Shinnecock, carded a 71 to join Vijay Singh (70) in a tie for eighth at 2-under-par 138. Mike Weir was one shot further back at 1-under-par 139 after a round of 70 along with Trevor Immelman (70).
Jay Haas, who held a share of the opening-round lead, struggled to a round of 74 to join Sergio Garcia (68), Stephen Ames (66), Pat Perez (67), Kevin Stadler (72) and Billy Mayfair (70) at even-par 140.
Defending champion Jim Furyk, who made his return to compete at Shinnecock despite his continuing recovery from wrist surgery, survived to play the weekend thanks to a miracle eagle from the bunker at the par-5 16th.
Furyk posted a 72 to finish in a group at 4-over-par 144 that featured Padraig Harrington.
The 36-hole cut fell at 5-over-par 145 with 66 players qualifying for the weekend including David Toms, Scott Hoch and Charles Howell III. Among the victims of the halfway cut were Davis Love III, Darren Clarke, Stuart Appleby and Chad Campbell.
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