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Stars miss the cut, Tiger Woods shares lead at U.S. Open

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
June 16, 2012 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tiger Woods is tied for the lead at the U.S. Open after two rounds
  • Defending champion Rory McIlroy and Masters winner Bubba Watson miss the cut
  • Five-time U.S. Open runner-up Phil Mickelson barely makes it to third round
  • Record-breaking teen also fails to make the weekend rounds

(CNN) -- Some of golf's biggest names failed Friday to make the cut at the U.S. Open, victims of the Olympic Club's unforgiving roughs and slick greens.

The departure of such big names as defending champion Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and world No. 1 Luke Donald seems to have paved the way for the sport's biggest star, Tiger Woods.

Woods had another solid day Friday, moving to a tie for the lead with Jim Furyk and David Toms. They all ended 1-under through two rounds.

Furyk, winner of the 2003 U.S. Open, said he will be ready for the weekend.

Watson: 'That was the old Tiger'
Webb Simpson of the United States holds the U.S. Open trophy after his one-stroke victory in San Francisco on Sunday, June 17. Simpson finished the four-day event at one shot over par to secure his first major title. Webb Simpson of the United States holds the U.S. Open trophy after his one-stroke victory in San Francisco on Sunday, June 17. Simpson finished the four-day event at one shot over par to secure his first major title.
U.S. Open: The best photos
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U.S. Open day one wrap

"I feel solid and in control so far," Furyk told reporters. "I know it's going to get even ... firmer and faster and even more of a stern test for the weekend."

U.S. Open leaderboard

Others struggled on the tree-lined San Francisco golf course despite the near-perfect weather.

McIlroy finished 10 over. The 23-year-old Northern Irishman may have sealed his fate on the last hole Friday.

McIlroy seemed to have a birdie putt set up nicely to get him to eight over. Instead, he three-putted for a bogey in a shaky performance that had the crowd groaning and McIlroy looking to the sky in frustration.

"You really have to be so precise out there, and if you're not, you're going to get punished," McIlroy told reporters. "It's just something that you have to adjust to in this tournament. I wasn't able to do that very well this week."

Watson finished at 9 over as he continued to struggle hitting fairways.

The grouping of Woods, Phil Mickelson and Watson was billed as the marquee pairing of popular champions, but Woods was the only one who lived up to the billing.

Five-time U.S. Open runner-up Mickelson barely made the cut by ending at 7 over. The veteran lefty got a birdie at the end of the round.

Also having a disappointing showing was Donald, who wilted on the northern California course, finishing 11 over.

Donald said his game was off both Thursday and Friday.

"I think I missed nine putts inside 10 feet yesterday and just couldn't get the feel for the greens, the reads, the speed," the 34-year-old Englishman told reporters.

Another crowd favorite missing the cut was 14-year-old Andy Zhang. The Chinese teen, who is the youngest golfer to ever compete in the U.S. Open, was widely followed. He had some good shots both Thursday and Friday but was plagued by stretches of bogeys and double bogeys and ended 17 over.

Casey Martin, playing his first major since the U.S. Open at the same venue in 1998, missed the cut by one shot. He carded 75 to be 9 over along with Watson and 20 other players including major winners Lucas Glover, Y.E. Yang and Louis Oosthuizen.

Now a coach, the 40-year-old needs a cart to get around the course due to a birth defect which causes pain in his right leg. He was the first golfer to use a cart in a major 14 years ago, causing controversy and sparking a law suit by the PGA Tour.

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