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Woods trails as US Open leaders forge ahead

Barnes added a 65 to his opening 67 to take the clubhouse lead, one shot clear of another unstoried American, Lucas Glover, and two ahead…

Barnes added a 65 to his opening 67 to take the clubhouse lead, one shot clear of another unstoried American, Lucas Glover, and two ahead of 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir of Canada.

Glover had a 64 to equal Weir’s tournament-best effort set in the first round, while the Canadian had a 70.

All three had seen their second rounds suspended due to darkness on Friday evening along with 75 others in the same half of the draw.

The other half of the field, including Woods, endured the worst of the weather on Thursday and then had been idle for most of Friday, when the conditions improved markedly.

“I drove it great for the last 27 holes and hit my irons the right distance,” said Glover, whose one and only PGA Tour win came six years ago.

“But I’m only at the halfway stage and some of the other guys are only at the quarter-way stage.”

Also on the clubhouse leaderboard after two rounds were top Asian challenger Azuma Yano of Japan at three under, five shots off the pace, after a 65 alongside former world number one David Duval (70) and top European Peter Hanson of Sweden (71).

Crowd favourite Phil Mickelson stayed in contention by putting the final touches on a 70 that left him one under for the tournament at the halfway mark.

The world number two, who has never won the US Open but finished second a record four times, is playing his last tournament before taking time off to be with his wife Amy, who is to undergo breast cancer surgery next month.

Woods set out in the company of Masters champion Angel Cabrera and British Open and PGA Championship winner Padraig Harrington knowing he could ill-afford a finish similar to the one he had in the first round, when he dropped four strokes in the last four holes.

With the early projected cut at five over, Woods was facing the need to at least come in with a 71 on the tough Bethpage Black layout and that at a time when a layer of thunderstorms was forecast to sweep in from the west.

Woods is seeking his 15th major win, three shy of the record held by Jack Nicklaus, and a second straight US Open win to become the first man in history to successfully defend all four of the majors.

It was already too late for two-times former winner Ernie Els, whose run of poor form continued to leave him a disastrous 15-over for the tournament despite having played in the best of the conditions.

Complicating the overall picture was the near certainty that the atrocious weather heading would mean that the tournament could fall further behind schedule with the cut not being possible until Sunday.

That would leave them having to play more than 36 holes in one day to finish on time or make just the second 72-hole Monday finish in US Open history a reality.