For a second occasion in three years Graeme McDowell is California dreaming and dreaming of a second U.S. Open success along the shores of the Pacific Ocean washed coastline.
McDowell added a second round 72 that included four birdies but also six bogeys for a two over par tally and end the day just two shots behind the leading all-American trio of Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and David Toms who share the lead on one under par.
The Northern Irishman birdied the 15th and 16th that were his seventh and eighth holes of the day to move into second place on his own at two under par.
But he then dropped shots at the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth and with a 72 slipped back to one over and joint ninth.
“It’s just a brutal test of golf,” said McDowell.
“I’m disappointed to bogey three of the last four today. I hit a decent shot into five and missed it on the short side; six, I hit a great shot, I missed the putt there; and eight I got a shooter off the back and a tough up and down.
“But that’s what this golf course can do to you in a heart beat; and to be honest with you, if you had offered me one over par starting on the first tee yesterday having seen what I saw yesterday morning, I would have probably snapped your arm off for it.
“So very happy. Very happy to be where I am. I think I played some really nice golf the last two day, made enough birdies to offset some mistakes which I think is key.”
And while McDowell chargers towards a second Father’s Day victory celebration big-hitting Belgium Nicolas Colsaerts was also in the frame for a possible first Major success
Colsaerts carded a one under par 69 to be among four players to break par in the morning half of the draw on day two.
The Belgian’s progress is all the more remarkable after starting on day one by doubling two of his first three holes.
The fact that he has fought his way back from four over after three to just one over after 36 holes, on a course so reluctant to give up any birdies, highlights a growing maturity and confidence in his game.
Winner of the Volvo World Match Play last month, Colsaerts is doing his Ryder Cup aspirations no harm with another good performance.
Birdies on the ninth – his opening hole – 16th and 18th mixed with bogeys on the 13th and sixth holes helped him return one of the rare sub-par rounds of the morning session.
“When you play like this on a course like this in an event like this you got to be pretty happy,” he said.
Colsaerts’ big hitting game might not appear best suited to the subtleties of the Olympic Club’s Lake Course but he is plotting his way round nicely and felt the course was actually playing slightly easier than the first day and he could have been a few shots better.
“I could have gone a lot lower, but you can’t be asking too much,” he said. “I started wonderfully. I could have been as low as three or four under after six or seven holes. But you get what you get. So you can’t really ask for anything lower than that.
“The course is getting firmer and some of the pins are three from sides and short on to the green, so it’s still pretty tricky.”
Colsaerts currently occupies the last of the ten automatic places in the European Ryder Cup qualification campaign and a good weekend will help propel him towards his dream of becoming the first Belgian to play in the biennial match.
And perhaps an Olympic connection will be a good omen this week over the Olympic Club – his great grandfather represented Belgium at basketball and water polo at the 1920 Olympic Games.