Former Masters champion Patrick Reed holds a slender lead at the halfway stage of the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club.
Reed, 30, carded a level-par second round of 70 to remain four-under for the championship and one ahead of his Ryder Cup teammate Bryson DeChambeau.
World No.3 Justin Thomas, the first round leader, is a further shot adrift in a tie for third alongside Harris English and Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello after a day in which the famous West Course at the New York club finally bared its teeth.
Indeed, DeChambeau vaulted into contention for his first major title with a best-of-the-day 68 - one of only three sub-par rounds recorded on Friday.
Compare that to Thursday's opening round, which saw 21 players post under-par scores.
As things stand at the midway point, only six of the 143-man field are in red numbers, with Reed leading the way as he searches for his second major victory.
Pat on point
On a brutally tough day, Reed was a picture of poise and patience, taking his chances when he got them and limiting his mistakes.
Little wonder he goes into the weekend feeling optimistic about his chances.
"I feel good," said the eight-time PGA Tour winner. "I feel ready to go out and put myself in position tomorrow to hopefully have a chance late on Sunday.
"I think the biggest thing is I feel like the game is where it needs to be. I feel good. I just need to tighten a few things up here or there but the short game is sharp, and when I play around a place like this, that's what you need."
Winged Foot played 2.62 strokes tougher on Friday compared to Thursday - the largest jump in stroke average between the opening two rounds in championship history. Whilst others wilted in the face of that challenge, Reed revelled in it.
"I love the grind," he admitted. "I love getting in there. I love when it's hard, when you have to be creative on all different golf shots."
Reed will have Bryson DeChambeau for company in the final group of the third round.
The Californian's quirky ways have arguably been the game's biggest talking point in this pandemic-affected year. However, as he bids to break through and add a major to his already impressive CV, the 27-year-old is determined to let his golf do his talking this weekend.
"I feel great," said the big-hitting six-time PGA Tour winner. "Confidence is at an all-time high right now. Driving it well, iron play is fantastic, wedging is getting better each and every day, and I'm putting it like I know I can. So I'm very happy."