Adam Scott heads the group after a second round of 69, overcoming a bogey, bogey start to produce five birdies and one further bogey to move to 3 under for the tournament and although six shots from the lead he is in a share of 11th and just four shots from the second placed Justin Rose.
Scott was happy enough with his effort, essentially acknowledging he is still very much in the tournament at the halfway stage.
“Well, overall shooting in the 60s at a U.S. Open is a good thing,” he said. “I'm happy with that. It was a tough start, had me on the back foot. I am playing well. I had to stay patient and stick in and wait for my chances. I got it back under par through 9 and then tried to hold on coming in.
“Always in a U.S. Open, even in these nice conditions, it's a fine line. It's easy to drop a shot. On Friday I'm not going to win the tournament making a birdie -- an extra birdie on two, but I could play my way out of it and I'm glad I stuck in today. And, hopefully, I'm not too far back going into the weekend.”
Marc Leishman, Jason Day and Cameron Smith all finished at 1 over and one shot inside the cutline of 2 over and still have their chances at the weekend despite being ten shots from the lead of Gary Woodland.
Leishman was unable to match his opening 69 but given his three dropped shots early in the back nine threatening to force him outside the cutline he did well to hold on to be in 45th position and close enough to work his way through the field over the weekend.
Of the other Australians and New Zealanders in the field, Matt Jones just missed the cut by one, Aaron Baddeley by three, with Ryan Fox, Daniel Hillier, Marcus Fraser and Brett Drewitt further back.
Marc Leishman watches a tee shot today while playing with Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm - USGA
So too are Cameron Smith and Jason Day, Smith slipping outside the cutline with three bogeys early in his round before fighting his way back until a potentially disastrous double bogey at the dangerous par 4 8th. A superb second to his last hole would, however, set up a birdie and the cushion he needed to comfortably make it to the weekend.
Jason Day began his round in the most awful fashion, a double bogey and bogey in his opening two holes and when he bogeyed the 17th (his 8th hole) he, too, was outside the cut mark.
That he was able to fight back in the manner he did to get back to even par for the tournament before a bogey at the last was encouraging and he still finds himself with a chance of working his way into the event tomorrow.
Gary Woodland in action today - photo USGA Darren Carroll
The leader, Woodland, worked his way past longtime leader, Justin Rose, with a closing nine of 31 for a round of 65 to equal that of the first-round leader, Rose.
Woodland has played his closing nine holes on both days in 31 and 32 and although yet to record a finish inside the top twenty in his eight previous US Open attempts, he is clearly on the verge of a milestone of sorts this weekend.
Woodland has experienced mixed results at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am but he is a great fan of the iconic layout and has signficantly shown improved putting this week.
“I've played well at Pebble the last couple of times I've been here during the AT&T,” said Woodland, who tied for fifth in the annual PGA Tour event in 2017, but missed the cut in his three other starts. “I've struggled at the other two courses (Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Country Club), but this golf course I feel comfortable at.
“With the stroke itself I put a lot of work in with Phil Kenyon, at the PGA was one of the worst weeks I'd had putting but he told me it was the best he's ever seen my stroke. That gave me a lot of confidence knowing that it was something I could work on, not stroke-wise, but learning how to practice, learning how to read greens, making some adjustments in that aspect.”
Louis Oosthuizen is on his own in third place, one behind Rose.
Want video tips delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to iseekgolf.com newsletters.