Golf-DeChambeau grabs clubhouse lead as Winged Foot bares teeth
Recasts after morning rounds
MAMARONECK, N.Y., Sept 18 (Reuters) - Bryson DeChambeau ground his way around a much tougher Winged Foot course and enjoyed a closing eagle to grab the second-round U.S. Open clubhouse lead on Friday as windier conditions humbled many of the game's top golfers.
DeChambeau drained a six-foot eagle putt at his final hole, the par-five ninth, for a two-under 68 that brought him to three under for the week before overnight leader Justin Thomas (five under) began his second round.
"I feel like I drove it pretty well considering the windy conditions," said DeChambeau. "It's super tough to hit fairways here but I did it when I needed it most and was able to capitalise when I hit it in the fairway."
Unlike in Thursday's opening round when 21 players finished under par in soft and gentle conditions, Winged Foot was a much sterner test on Friday as DeChambeau and Bubba Watson (69) were the only players from the morning wave to break par.
The closing eagle by DeChambeau, whose best finish in a major came at this year's PGA Championship where he finished in a share of fourth place, capped a roller-coaster round that also included five bogeys and five birdies.
Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello (70), who has never finished inside the top 30 at the U.S. Open, birdied three of his final four holes and was in the clubhouse one shot behind DeChambeau.
"Well, clearly the wind has picked up significantly. That has made it really hard," said Cabrera Bello. "This course, if you don't find the fairways you're playing -- I don't know, like the most difference that you can ever play."
Former Masters champion Patrick Reed, who was a shot back of Thomas after the first round, and four-times major winner Rory McIlroy, who was two behind, were among the late starters.
Tiger Woods, who came into this week seeking a record-setting 83rd PGA Tour victory, was three over to start the day and one shot inside the projected four-over-par cut line.
PGA Tour Player of the Year and world number one Dustin Johnson (70) was sitting one shot inside the projected cut line after mixing two birdies with two bogeys, while defending champion Gary Woodland (74) was eight over on the week.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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