Farmingdale, N.Y. Throughout his young professional career, former Kansas University golfer Gary Woodland has put together quite a resume.
Friday, playing in the first U.S. Open of his career at historic Bethpage Black, Woodland added perhaps his most impressive entry to date. Its title might have read something like this: “Led Tiger Woods through 32 holes at the 2009 U.S. Open.”
One day after rains slammed the course and delayed play, the wet stuff stayed away Friday, allowing several players to scoot through nearly two rounds of the 109th U.S. Open. Woodland, who shot a 73 in the first round Friday morning, was in that group. He teed off for Round 2 around 4 p.m. and opened with a birdie on the par-4 first hole.
The KU product built on the momentum of a hot start, finishing Friday’s action 4-under for the round and 1-under for the tournament.
After the birdie on No. 1, Woodland recorded an eagle on the par-5 fourth and birdies on holes 11 and 13.
Because of the awkward nature of having to squeeze two rounds into the same day, Friday’s play was suspended due to darkness at 8:24 p.m. EST. At that time, players were given the option to finish any hole they had started or pick up where they left off today. The horn sounded after Woodland had teed off on the par-3 14th. Woodland chose to finish out the hole, which he parred to cap off a tremendous day.
The 80 or so golfers who were stopped because of darkness Friday will finish the second round at 7:30 EST this morning.
The other half of the field — which includes Woods — will begin second-round play once that wave is out on the course, meaning that, for at least one more night, Woodland can revel in the joy that comes with seeing his name ahead of the world’s No. 1 player on a major leaderboard.
Perhaps more importantly, Woodland appears to be in great shape to stick around for the weekend. The cut line at the U.S. Open is the top 60 players and ties, including all players who fall within 10 shots of the leader after two rounds of play. Woodland closed Friday tied for 12th place, four shots behind leader Lucas Glover.