Sun, 01 Aug 2021

Richard Bland, 48, rises to top during U.S. Open second round

Field Level Media
19 Jun 2021, 07:05 GMT+10

Englishman Richard Bland shot 4-under-par 67 to move into the lead on the second day of the U.S. Open on Friday at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

Bland was among those with early tee times for the second round and he took advantage by posting seven birdies. He wanted to keep it simple, moving to 5 under at the midway mark of the tournament.

"If you just keep putting the ball in play, then you're going to give yourself a chance," Bland said.

If Bland, at age 48, maintains the lead after the full field of golfers finishes the round, he would be the oldest 36-hole leader in tournament history.

When he finished, he held a one-stroke edge on Russell Henley and later South African Louis Oosthuizen also moved the second-place spot. Bland held a two-stroke advantage on Italy's Francesco Molinari and Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello. Oosthuizen recorded 71 for the second round, while the others were slated to tee off in the afternoon.

Shortly after, Bubba Watson finished with a second-round 67 and Spaniard Jon Rahm notched 70 to join the group at 3 under. Watson registered five birdies and a bogey across his last six holes.

About three dozen golfers completed first rounds Friday after play was suspended Thursday because of darkness -- a situation caused earlier Thursday when the beginning of the tournament was delayed for about 90 minutes because of fog.

Bland got off to a torrid start, going 4 under for the round with some golfers still on the course finishing their first rounds.

Bland, appearing in his second U.S. Open (missed cut in 2009), captured the top spot despite playing the par-5 holes in a combined 1 over for two rounds.

Yet this is a continuation of Bland's strong play after winning last month's British Masters, when he became the oldest first-time winner on the European Tour.

"I was coming in with some good confidence and managed to carry that on," Bland said.

Bland's surge provided another example that older golfers in major championships can have success. Phil Mickelson, then 50, won last month's PGA Championship.

Oosthuizen played his final two holes of the first round Friday before embarking on the next round. His first-round 67 made him a co-leader as he began the U.S. Open with a sub-70 round for the third year in a row.

"I just enjoy playing really tough golf courses," Oosthuizen said. "I think somehow I focus a little bit better when I play those courses, knowing that the margin for error is really small."

A total of 23 golfers ended up under par through the first round.

--Field Level Media

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