Tiger Woods charged into a share of the lead in the second round of the U.S. Open on Friday as Rory McIlroy's title defense collapsed on another brutal day at the Olympic Club.
Woods had the galleries buzzing with anticipation that his major championship drought was about to end as he conjured up all his old magic to tame the notoriously difficult course and join Jim Furyk and David Toms in a three-way tie for the lead at one-under par 139.
The former world number one has not won a major in four years but the omens are good this time. Of the nine previous times Woods has led a major at the halfway state, he has gone on to win eight.
“Being patient is certainly something that we have to do in major championships and I think I've done a pretty good job of that over the years,” said the 14-times major winner.
“I won my fair share, and I understand how to do it.”
It was not an easy day for Woods. The 36-year-old stumbled midway through his round, making three successive bogeys on the front nine, and had to scramble hard as the Pacific Ocean winds picked up in the afternoon.
But he maintained his composure to finish with an even par 70 after Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, set the standard with a 69 and Toms, the 2001 PGA Championship winner, matched Woods with a 70 as the sun started to set in Northern California.
"I'm sure they (spectators) will be going crazy for Tiger out there this weekend and rightfully so. He brings a lot to our game,” said Toms.