June 15, 2018 / 2:52 PM / 9 months ago

Golf-Johnson takes two-shot lead halfway through his second round

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y., June 15 (Reuters) - Dustin Johnson claimed the lead halfway through the second round at the U.S. Open on Friday as Tiger Woods gave himself a chance of making the cut.

Johnson, part of a four-way tie for the first-round lead, picked up two strokes on his outward half to improve to three under par at Shinnecock Hills.

He had a two-shot lead over Englishman Ian Poulter and fellow American Scott Piercy, who had late tee times.

Everyone else was over par as the championship regained its reputation as the toughest test in the game.

Woods, meanwhile, steadied his sinking ship after opening with an eight-over 78, his worst round at a U.S. Open.

A birdie at the par-five 16th, where he punched a wedge to six feet and holed the putt, brought him back to seven-over.

He got a lucky break at the par-four 18th, when his drive bounced towards the long fescue, only to hit a TV spotter and settle in the light rough.

But he was still unable to reach the green, finding a greenside bunker and eventually making a six-foot putt to salvage a bogey that sent him back to eight-over.

After sunny conditions and strong winds wreaked havoc on many players on Thursday, the weather changed on Friday as the wind abated a little and a light rain settled over the course.

Johnson started at the 10th tee in the company of Woods and number two Justin Thomas.

Fellow American Russell Henley also was going along nicely until he found the brutal fescue rough at his 12th hole, the par-four third.

After pulling his drive into some of the longest and densest rough on the course, he took a big swing but the ball barely moved.

He then gouged his next shot forward some 70 yards, but it ended in more punishing rough. A triple-bogey took him back to one-over. (Reporting by Andrew Both; editing by David Stamp)

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