Barnes sets 36-hole Open record

Ricky Barnes watches his tee shot on the eighth tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship Saturday at Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y.<BR><I>AP photo</I>

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. - With a record-setting show, Ricky Barnes became the leader at the halfway point of the rain-plagued U.S. Open.

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, remained well off the leaderboard at soggy Bethpage Black.

Barnes, the 2002 U.S. Amateur champion, set the U.S. Open 36-hole scoring record by finishing two trips around the course in 8-under 132. He completed his second round Saturday morning, making three birdies in nine holes for a 65 and ending up one shot ahead of Lucas Glover (64) and two up on first-round leader Mike Weir (70).

The previous 36-hole record was 133, set by Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh at Olympia Fields in 2003 and matched Saturday by Glover, who completed his round shortly before Barnes posted his score.

"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."

The cut was 144, 4 over par, with 60 players - the minimum possible - qualifying for the final two rounds.

Woods, the defending champion, was tied for 41st, 11 shots behind Barnes. The third round was to begin later Saturday afternoon, with the USGA hoping rain bands that had passed over Bethpage earlier in the day were gone, at least for a few hours.

"You never know," Woods said. "I've got 36 more holes, over the next probably three days. It's one of those things where if I keep plugging along, just like any U.S. Open, keep plugging along, make a birdie here and there and we'll see where it ends up."

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."

Woods was not.

The defending champion and world's No. 1 shot 69 on Saturday, getting to 3 over for the week and making the cut with only one stroke to spare. He missed a 10-footer for par on his closing hole, then swiped his putter in frustration before tapping in to end his four-birdie, three-bogey day.

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 the putt, then lamented that he "weenied out."

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

Three 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.

Azuma Yano of Japan shot 65 in his second round, joining Duval and Sweden's Peter Hanson at 3 under. Steve Stricker made a big move as well, shooting 66 to move into a tie for 11th at 1 under.


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