Patrick Reed enjoys grinding his way through a difficult golf course and Friday's second round of the US Open at Winged Foot gave him just the challenge he wanted.
The 2018 Masters champion fired a level par 70 to seize the lead at four-under 136, one stroke ahead of US compatriot Bryson DeChambeau after 36 holes at Mamaroneck, New York.
Tenth-ranked Reed four times in his round answered a bogey by making a birdie within two holes. Despite finding only five fairways, Reed blasted out of deep rough and bunkers to rescue pars and give himself birdie chances on a course he says sets up well for him.
"It's just because I love the grind," Reed said. "I love getting in there. I love when it's hard, when you have to be creative on all different golf shots."
At the par-4 first hole, Reed chose to bounce an 8-iron onto the green instead of risk landing a 9-iron shot on a slopey green.
"Try to bounce it up there," Reed said. "Kind of using my eyes and being more creative rather than sit there and aim and shoot."
It's those sorts of choices Reed thrives upon.
"You're out there attacking the golf course. This golf course you have to think about every little thing off of tee shots, iron shots, putts, everything," Reed said.
There's less chatting with playing partners and more focus on the job at hand and how best to approach tasks.
"You don't really hang out with the guys," Reed said. "You're too busy trying to figure out where you're trying to play this course and kind of put it together like a puzzle.
"There's not as much talking going on at the US Open as there is other golf tournaments because it's a premium on every single golf shot. You let up once and you're going to make a mess of the golf course."
Reed felt Friday was a day where he could have done better.
"Any time you play in the US Open, you know that you're going to have one of those days that things just aren't quite going your way," Reed said. "I felt like today was that day.
"I felt like I left a decent amount of shots out there, felt like I was a little loose with some shots off the tee and also irons, and to be able to feel like that and come out and shoot even par, it's definitely a positive and makes you feel good going into the weekend."
Confidence is high, Reed says, because his short game is on form at a course where it is dearly prized.
"I feel good. I feel ready to go out and put myself in position hopefully tomorrow to have a chance late on Sunday," Reed said.
"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."