The 26-year-old missed the cut in both of her previous appearances, but she closed out a first-round 72 to finish the first round Friday morning and followed with a steady 71 to stay close to the leaders.
At 1-over 143, she was one stroke behind In-Bee Park, the clubhouse leader after two rounds. Angela Park, who opened with a 3-under 68, didn't even hit a shot because bad weather forced an early end to Friday's play.
The top 60 players along with those within 10 strokes of the lead make the cut after 36 holes.
'I wasn't always going for the flag,' Tamulis said. 'So I wasn't really shooting to make birdie as much as I was just trying to make pars.'
She did plenty of that Friday. She finished the second round with 16 pars, hit 10 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens in regulation.
It was an improvement from her past performances at the Open. An all-Atlantic Coast Conference player at Florida State, Tamulis was 18 over par as an amateur in 2002 at Prairie Dunes, and 7 over in 2004 at The Orchards, both times missing the cut.
Now the biggest challenge is waiting patiently while other golfers wrap up their second round Saturday before she can tee off again. And with no place to really fulfill her love of shopping in the area, she joked that she's down to eating cookies to relax.
'I think U.S. Opens kind of set up good for me because I just hit it down the fairway, and then I hit it in the middle of the green and I make a putt every once in a while ... and try not to make too many big numbers,' Tamulis said.
'I'd take par for four days on this golf course and walk away very happy.'
This isn't the record the U.S. Women's Open had in mind.
Storms have suspended play at Pine Needles every day this week, including three practice rounds. Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of rules and competition, said there had never been a suspension every day of a championship event. More storms were forecast for Saturday, making another delay possible.
'I don't know whether to root for it (bad weather) or not on Sunday for a record, but we may get to it,' Davis said.
There has been little if any rain during the two days of delays -- just plenty of dark clouds, thunder and lightning. Considering the spot on the calendar, that might not be a surprise.
The previous two Women's Opens at Pine Needles were played a month earlier. Davis said the USGA decided to wait a month this time so that the Bermuda grass could have additional time to grow in the summer heat.
'I think coming into it realistically we realized that the chances of bad weather were probably a little greater,' Davis said. 'But having said that, this area has gone for weeks on end without any kind of weather. And bring the USGA to town and it's amazing how we can change weather patterns.'
A year ago, fog wiped out the first round Thursday, leading to a 36-hole Sunday, followed by an 18-hole playoff Monday that Annika Sorenstam won over Pat Hurst.
The longest Women's Open came 20 years ago in New Jersey, when bad weather pushed the tournament into Tuesday before 72 holes were completed. Just the USGA's luck, there was a tie, so Laura Davies and Joanne Carner returned Wednesday for the playoff, which Davies won for her first major championship.
Silvia Cavalleri withdrew from the Open due to heat exhaustion after playing nine holes Friday.
Cavalleri shot a 78 in the first round, then opened with a 44 -- including two bogeys, two double bogeys and a triple bogey on No. 17. She was at 15-over for the championship, her fifth appearance in the Open.
Cavalleri's best showing in the Open was finishing tied for 27th in 2000. She missed the cut in 2004 and '05, then finished tied for 57th last year.
Hot weather helped the greens get slightly faster Friday.
They measured about 12.5 on the Stimpmeter, the device that measures green speed. The USGA said it was where the greens were for practice rounds and about 3 inches faster than Thursday's first round, which were slowed by rain Wednesday night.
By comparison, the greens at the men's Open at Oakmont two weeks ago measured a 13.5.
'The golf course is firm,' said Paula Creamer, who is at 4-over for the tournament and was trying to finish No. 18 when play was stopped Friday. 'The greens were a lot firmer (Friday) than they were (Thursday). They're kind of drying out.'