Appleby tops US Open leaderboard
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2008 US Open | Round Two | 14 Jun 2008
Earlier in the week I described the 108th US Open as a tournament with plenty of intrigue. There is little doubt that the event is well and truly living up to that billing.
Stuart Appleby leads the tournament by one after a 40 foot birdie putt at the last put the icing on a solid round of 70 and he has the edge over Rocco Mediate, Robert Karlsson and, who else but, Tiger Woods.
A back nine of 30 moved Woods from the edge of contention to within one and he has gone a long way to erasing any doubts over his capacity to bounce back from his recent surgery and recovery. There is little doubt, Woods is still feeling twinges in the knee, but he put that behind him and said after his round today that while it was a little sore, he would be good to go tomorrow.
Appleby started with a bogey after finding the fairway bunker at the first but made a great par save at the dangerous par three third after missing the green left. He made his first birdie of the day at the 7th to get back to even for the day and then took a share of the lead with Mediate at the 9th when he birdied the par five to move to 3 under.
Appleby dropped shots at the 11th and 12th after finding greenside traps on both occasions but almost holed his approach at the par five 13th and was at two under and back in a share of the lead.
At the par five last Appleby found the rough from the tee at the reachable par five and was forced to lay up. His third was ordinary at best and some 45 feet from the hole. His putt though looked good from a long way out and the unlikely birdie saw him grab the lead outright.
Mediate raced ahead early in his round when he birdied the second and fourth holes and stood at four under. He was still four under at the turn but bogeyed the 10th when he found the trees from the tee and then the greenside bunker. He dropped another at the 12th and then missed a very short birdie opportunity at the 13th. He was then at two under and shared the lead with Appleby and Englishman Oliver Wilson. Mediate was playing two groups ahead of Appleby and when he bogeyed the 17th, after his approach from the rough was short, he was back at 1 under.
Mediate hit a brilliant second to the last although could only two putt for birdie but when he walked the green he shared the lead with Appleby. Robert Karlsson was having a good day also and when the tall Swede birdied the last from the greenside trap he too had a share of the lead with Mediate and Appleby before Appleby produced his final hole heroics a few minutes later to draw clear.
Many players made moves on day two but perhaps the most significant would be that of Tiger Woods. After a slow start, an eagle at his 4th hole had him back on track. There were signs that the knee problem is still an issue and when he made the turn he appeared to be struggling at three over for the tournament. Then came the Woods charge. A birdie from the right hand rough at the 10th was followed by another at the 11th from 20 feet despite a poor pitch.
Woods hit a great 4 iron at the 13th albeit 30 feet short but when that putt went in, he was at even par and closing on the leaders. Perhaps his best putt of the day came at the 14th when he holed a curling right to left 15 foot tester to move under par for the first time in the tournament. He was then within one of the lead.
Woods remained within one until his final hole of the day when he hit a brilliant second to the par five, which trickled over the back. He was able to get up and down for birdie and at two under he was within one of Appleby’s lead.
The best round of the day and the week to date came from Spaniard, Miguel Angel Jimenez, who was out in one of the last few groups of the day. After an opening round of 75, Jimemenz’s round of 66 today has him knocking on the door of contention and he is not without claims of victory in this championship. Eight years ago at Pebble Beach, Jimenez finished runner up to Woods and given the form he is in, which includes a recent win at the BMW PGA, he has created a great opportunity for himself.
Others would make significant moves on day two including the Open Champion, Padraig Harrington whose round of 67 not only moved him back inside the cut line but, at three over, creates an outside chance for him to contend on Sunday.
The rounds of 69 by both Davis Love and D.J. Trahan moved both to within two of the lead and for Love, who went through qualifying to be here, he has been rewarded with what might well be a significant momentum swing in his golfing career, irrespective of what eventuates over the weekend.
Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy at even par add to a strong Australian challenge and two late birdies have given Rod Pampling, at 2 over, the chance for a special week. Adam Scott is at 4 over, Aaron Baddeley at 5 over and Jarrod Lyle snuck inside the cut line courtesy of the ten shot rule.
Mathew Goggin eagled his final hole but fell one short of a place in the weekend field, Craig Parry battled to a round of 81 and Michael Campbell continued his woes with a round of 83.
The cut fell at 7 over with 80 players making the weekend.