Dustin Johnson moved closer to a second U.S. Open victory in three years, shrugging off the worst of the conditions to take a stranglehold on the U.S. Open with a four-shot second-round lead at Shinnecock Hills on Friday.
The overnight joint leader jumped clear with an assured three-under-par 67 on a day when the tournament lost considerable star wattage as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods missed the cut.
"Today was really solid in some tough conditions," Johnson said after posting a four-under 136 halfway total to head fellow Americans Charley Hoffman (69) and Scott Piercy (71).
A high-powered group of five stood next at one-over -- defending champion Brooks Koepka, fellow major winners Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, plus Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter
The straight-talking Poulter got within one shot of Johnson before running up a triple-bogey at his 17th hole, the par-four eighth, where he got too aggressive with a bunker shot.
World number one Johnson endured no similar drama, largely by adopting a conservative strategy and taking few risks.
He capped off the day at his 16th hole, the par-three seventh, where he curled in a 45-foot birdie putt that trundled downhill before trickling in as fellow competitor Woods looked on with admiration and perhaps a tinge of envy.
"Dustin was in complete control of what he's doing. He's hitting the ball so flush and so solid," Woods said.
"And he's got beautiful speed on the greens. Every putt looked like it was going to go in."
New Zealands Ryan Fox is 9 shots back in a tie for 25th, while Tim Wilkinson made the cut by one shot.