The US Open might be shaping up as another major championship with an elder statesman making a mark.
Englishman Richard Bland made a four-under-par 67 in the second round of the U.S. Open on Friday at Torrey Pines in San Diego and began Saturday as co-leader, at the age of 48 the oldest 36-hole leader in tournament history.
“As any golf career, you’re going to have peaks and troughs,” Bland said. “Of course you are. But I just think every kind of sportsman, sportswoman, they have that never-die or that never-quit attitude, no matter whether it’s golf or it’s tennis or it’s boxing, whatever it is.”
Bland shares the lead Friday with Russell Henley, who made 70 on Friday. Bland was among those with early tee times for the second round, and he took advantage by posting seven birdies. He wanted to keep it simple, moving to five-under at the midway mark of the tournament.
“If you just keep putting the ball in play, then you’re going to give yourself a chance,” Bland said.
Henley moved to six-under before finishing with a bogey on the par-five ninth hole.
South African Louis Oosthuizen (71) and Matthew Wolff (68) are tied for third at four-under. Bubba Watson (67) and Jon Rahm (70), who returned this week after a Covid-19-related layoff, are next at three-under.
About three dozen golfers completed first rounds Friday after play was suspended Thursday because of darkness – a situation caused earlier when the first round was delayed for about 90 minutes because of fog.
Bland’s surge provided another example that older golfers in major championships can have success. Phil Mickelson, then 50, won last month’s PGA Championship. Mickelson made the cut this week after a second-round 69 put him at two-over for the tournament.
Henley said he doesn’t know much about Bland other than he was a recent winner on the European Tour.
“I’m sure he knows nothing about me, too,” Henley said.
They’ll know more after playing in Saturday’s final pairing.