Friday's Birdies and Bogeys

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Friday's Birdies and Bogeys

June 14, 2012

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Birdie: Jim FurykWhen Furyk sought to improve upon a disappointing 2011, it was with the majors especially in mind. Never flashy but always steady, Furyk worked on his fitness and his putting, both of which have served him well this week. His 69 on a steep Lake Course has put Furyk, at 42, in position to contend for a second U.S. Open. Never mind those 5-Hour Energy drinks Furyk has been hawking. A chance to win another major is all the adrenaline a golfer needs.

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Bogey: Sergio GarciaWe always knew Garcia was one of the game's premier ball-strikers. But why stop with balls? After leaving his tee shot short on the par-3 third, Garcia took aim at a microphone next to the tee, wacking the foam wind sock out of place with his club. Too bad he didn't use his putter. Given his track record, he probably would have missed.

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Birdie: Tiger WoodsDuring these curious last three years for Woods, he has made occasional appearances on major championship leader boards, but has struggled to sustain his good play from one round to the next. Woods managed that on Friday, following up an opening 69 to play Friday in even par. After a brutal bogey-bogey-bogey stretch on the front nine, Woods made clutch birdies at No. 10 and No. 13, then converted two vital par saves late. The solid performance seemed more a reflection of the state of Woods' game than of a player simply getting hot. Now comes the question of whether he is equipped to handle weekend pressure at a major.

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Bogey: Michael ThompsonAs hard as it is for an unheralded player like Thompson to take the U.S. Open lead after one round, it's that much harder to be anywhere near the lead after two. And so after the 27-year-old Thompson's opening 66 gave him a three-shot lead heading into Friday, he wasted little time on Friday coming back to earth. Thompson played the first five holes in four-over par, and ended the day with a 75. It was still good enough to be in a tie for fourth. But given the established players ahead of him, Thompson has likely seen the top of the leader board for the last time at Olympic.

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Birdie: Beau HosslerNo matter what happens over the weekend -- or for the rest of his life -- Hossler can always say that at one point he had the outright lead at the U.S. Open. After starting his second round with nine pars and a birdie, another birdie on No. 1 did just that for the 17-year-old. He faltered late to finish the day three over, but it was still enough of a run for ESPN commentators to joke he'll be popular with the ladies come his senior year of high school. Probably true, but we're pretty sure this won't hurt his cool factor with the guys, either.

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Bogey: Rory McIlroyStart with his 10-over total, which had him missing the cut for the fourth time in his last five tournaments. Now factor in the fact that, in a way, McIlroy is responsible for other players' suffering this week as well. Just as the response to Johnny Miller's heroics in 1973 was a brutal setup at Winged Foot in 1974, the USGA seems to have reacted to McIlroy's record-setting total at Congressional last year by trying to make Olympic as stern a test as possible. At least for him, the suffering won't continue into the weekend.

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Birdie: Steve StrickerIn an entirely different phase of his career, Stricker finished T-5 at the 1998 U.S. Open -- his first top five at a major -- at Olympic Club. Since then, he's only added two more results that good or better in golf's biggest events. Perhaps a return to San Francisco is just what the 45-year-old needed. His second-round 68, highlighted by a hole out for eagle on the mammoth par-5 16th, was Friday's best score and put him just five shots off the lead heading into the weekend.

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Bogey: Luke DonaldThe top of golf's world ranking has been a tumultuous place the past two years, but Donald has emerged as No. 1 due to his consistency. Unfortunately, he's been pretty consistent in not contending in majors during that stretch as well. With a missed cut at Olympic, Donald has missed playing on the weekend far more times (seven) than he's finished in the top 10 (three times) in his last 19 majors. Maybe he is one of the best week to week. But Donald will never achieve true greatness until he can show up when it really matters.

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Birdie: David TomsAfter seeing the veteran play himself into a share of the 36-hole lead, the first reaction might be, "What took you so long?" Seemingly having the perfect game to contend at a U.S. Open, the 45-year-old never really has, with a pair of T-5s in 2003 and 2007 standing as his lone top 10s in his 15 previous attempts in the tournament. But if Toms can continue the type of play that has him in the second-to-last group on Saturday, the 2001 PGA Championship winner would be in good position to pick up major No. 2.

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Bogey: ESPNOverall, the cable network's coverage the first two days of the Open was solid, but during its Friday "Happy Hour" coverage, things got a little out of control. The channel cut to Tommy Biershenk several times, despite the journeyman golfer being near the bottom of the leader board. The reason? Apparently, just so Chris Berman could make lame jokes about his name. Talk about a shank.

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Birdie: Phil MickelsonMickelson has arrived at a point in his career when simply making a cut isn't cause for celebration. But after a disaster of an opening round, Mickelson gritted it out Friday, birdieing the 18th hole to shoot 71 and slide into the weekend. For a player who has been runner-up in the Open a record five times, it's unlikely that he's going to break through with a win this year. But that's all the more reason he should be commended for still playing the second round with a purpose.

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