SAN DIEGO -- Stuart Appelby recovered from an opening bogey to shoot a 1-under 70 and take a one-stroke lead in the second round at the U.S. Open on Friday, while Tiger Woods birdied four of five holes on his back nine and climbed within one of the lead.
Appleby birdied two of three holes just before the turn, but then bogeyed 11 and 12 before immediately recovering with his third birdie of the day at 13. He closed with final 45-foot birdie putt for a 70 that gave the Australian the lead in a major for the first time since he led Woods by one shot going into the final round of the Masters last year.
Woods, playing in his first tournament since the Masters and knee surgery immediately afterward, began his day with a three-putt and dropped as far as seven back, but after starting on the back nine, he birdied Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5 and 9 to finish with a 68.
|Stuart Appleby holds a one-shot lead after recording a 70. (Getty Images)|
"He wants to play some golf, we want to play some golf," Appleby said about Woods, and then he joked: "I just know I'll be doing the best I can to actually throw a club toward his sore knee. It'll be an accident, of course."
The others were jostling for the lead throughout the afternoon, and Appleby finally grabbed it on his final hole. He overcame his consecutive bogeys with birdies on the par 5s, the last one from below the ridge that put him atop the leaderboard and left several players more than 10 shots out of the lead and out of the tournament.
Woods was on the opposite side of the course, and despite the famous "June Gloom" layer of fog that blanketed Torrey Pines Golf Course, he was easy to find. A high-charged gallery, crammed in the bleachers and behind the ropes, rose to their feet with every birdie.
"All of a sudden, they just started flying in from everywhere," Woods said.
After his approach shot just centimeters from the cart path on No. 1, he never missed another fairway or another green. Woods poured in a 20-foot birdie on the second hole, then rolled one in from 25 feet up the slope on No. 4, putting him at even par for the tournament.
One hole later, his downhill putt from 18 feet broke sharply toward the ocean over the final inches and dropped into the heart of the cup, bringing another light fist pump and a red number on the board. He was under par.
He finished his round with a fairway metal that hung in the gray skies and landed on the green at the par-5 ninth, running just over the back. Woods chipped to 6 feet and made the birdie, just moments after Appleby had made his on the 18th.
"I was just hanging around, hanging around," Woods said. "This golf course will bite you quick. You've just got to hang in there and stay patient."
Phil Mickelson, a hometown favorite and three-time winner at Torrey Pines, could not keep up in the featured pairing with Woods.
He again played without a driver in the bag, and this time it might have hurt him. Mickelson could not reach the par-5 13th, where Woods got home in two and made eagle, and he was 30 yards behind Woods on the sixth hole, putting his approach on the tongue of a bunker that led to one of six bogeys in his round of 75.
Mickelson was at 4-over 146, seven shots out of the lead in a hometown U.S. Open he called his "once in a lifetime" chance.