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Ricky Barnes Sets 36-Hole U.S. Open Scoring Record

Ricky Barnes set the U.S. Open 36-hole scoring record Saturday by finishing two trips around Bethpage Black in 8-under 132.

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, was merely trying to make the cut as rain returned to still-soggy Bethpage Black.

Barnes, the 2002 U.S. Amateur champion, completed his second round Saturday morning, making three birdies in nine holes for a 65.

The previous 36-hole record was 133, set by Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh at Olympia Fields in 2003. Barring someone in the second half of the draw going on a birdie barrage, Barnes was almost certain to be the midway leader.

"It's pretty cool," Barnes said. "Obviously at the beginning of the week you didn't think that score was out there. Obviously with some tees moved up and the soft greens helped it out. And obviously with my ball-striking was the most probably impressive part of the first 36 holes."

Obviously.

Barnes has hit 31 of 36 greens this week; the rest of the field is only hitting the green in regulation about half the time.

"If you would have told me I would have been 8 under and only (a) one-shot lead, I would have said, 'You're kidding me,"' Barnes said. "But I'll take it. It was solid play. And I'm happy with the position I'm at."

Barnes led Lucas Glover by one shot; Glover had a chance at matching the U.S. Open and all-time major championship record with a 20-foot birdie putt on his final hole Saturday morning, only to leave it short and settle for a bogey-free 64.

Glover said he was thinking about shooting 63 as he stood over that birdie putt on the last hole, then lamented that he, in his words, "weenied out."

He didn't have much else to complain about.

"I'm very pleased," said Glover, who didn't even make the cut in any of his three previous U.S. Open appearances. "Probably as good a round of golf as I've played. I'm very excited."

First-round leader Mike Weir, who has finished in the top 20 at the U.S. Open seven of the past nine years, was two shots off Barnes' lead at 6 under. A threesome of players, including David Duval, were tied for fourth at 3 under through 36 holes.

"I'm just happy I've given them a good show so far," Duval said.

Woods was nowhere in sight on the leaderboard.

The defending champion and world's No. 1 finally got to start his second round Saturday, after slogging his way to a 74 in his opening 18 holes. Woods lost four strokes in the final four holes he played Friday morning, completing his opening round before sunshine arrived and conditions improved a bit at Bethpage Black.

By the time Woods got back on the course, he was 12 shots behind Barnes and likely needed a score somewhere around par to reach the third round — whenever it gets played.

Woods lost a shot after needing two wedges to reach the green on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole of the day, and then made birdie at No. 18 to make the turn 1 under for the day and 3 over for the week.

The projected cut was 4 over.

Woods' round began under bright sunshine. It didn't last.

More rain was predicted to start falling sometime around midday Saturday, with up to 1 inch possible according to the National Weather Service. Much work has been done at Bethpage to get rid of the water that turned the park into a pool on Thursday, but any significant new rainfall would likely make the Black unplayable once again.

"It's been a lot of starting and stopping this week," Weir said. "It's just been a test of patience and trying to be in the right state of mind each time you come out not to let things change too much. It's difficult for everybody."

The USGA was hoping to get the second round completed Saturday, possibly even start the third round around 5:30 p.m., and then play Sunday to crown a winner and continue the tradition of having the tournament end on Father's Day.

"Ain't gonna this year," Duval said.

Phil Mickelson rode waves of emotional support throughout his 9 1/2-hour, 29-hole marathon Friday from fans who adored him seven years ago at Bethpage and seem even more attracted to him now. It's been less than a month since Amy Mickelson revealed that she has breast cancer, and she sent her husband to New York with one request: Bring home a trophy.

"I just love playing golf here," Mickelson said. "I love coming up to this area. I think all sports teams love playing in front of these people here. They are some of the best sports fans in the country."

Few of them had arrived when play restarted Saturday. Perhaps he needed more out there.

Mickelson took a drop on the way to making bogey at the par-5 13th for the second straight day, and wound up shooting even par 70 to go to 1 under for the tournament.

"I'm only what, six back? We're only halfway through and we're all going to be playing under the same conditions now," Mickelson said. "I like the position I'm in."