June 18, 2021

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Reuters) -Englishman Richard Bland grabbed the U.S. Open lead early in the second round on Friday at Torrey Pines while overnight co-leader Louis Oosthuizen slipped back and defending champion Bryson DeChambeau moved into contention.

Bland, who only qualified for the U.S. Open after picking up his first European Tour title at last month’s British Masters, started the day three shots back of the co-leaders but grabbed control after going four under through 13 holes.

The 48-year-old Bland, in only his fourth major appearance, started on the back nine and reached the turn at two-under and then added another pair of birdies at two of his next four holes to reach five under on the week.

Oosthuizen, who started early on Friday to complete the final two holes of his fog-delayed first round, was cruising along in the second round until he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker at the par-four sixth.

The former British Open champion reached the turn at one-over-par 36, which left him one shot back of overnight co-leader Russell Henley, who had yet to tee off, and two shots behind Bland on a congested leaderboard.

World number five DeChambeau, who began the day six shots adrift, started on the back nine and bogeyed two of his first four holes but followed with birdies at 13 and 16 plus an eagle at the par-five 18th where he drained a 24-foot putt.

DeChambeau then mixed a birdie with a bogey in his three holes out of the turn to get back to even par on the week.

Henley was scheduled to begin his second round from the 10th tee at 1:03 p.m. PT (2003 GMT) with former British Open champion Francesco Molinari, who was a shot back overnight, playing one group behind.

Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello, who was also a shot behind after the first round, was also among the late starters.

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, who was two strokes off the overnight lead, was suddenly at risk of missing the cut after playing his opening 12 holes in five over par.

Among those who finished the first round two shots off the lead and yet to begin their second round are twice champion Brooks Koepka and world number six Xander Schauffele.

(Reporting by Andrew Both; Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto;; Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris)