A superb four-under-par round put the 48-year-old top of the leaderboard at Torrey Pines.
Richard Bland Leads US Open: “When I Saw The Course I Thought, I Can Play Around Here”
Only a month after his historic win at the British Masters, the Tour veteran is now on the hunt for yet further glory.
The 48-year-old, who claimed his maiden European Tour title at the 478th attempt, has only featured in three Major championships previously, missing the cut at the 2009 US Open.
However, with his confidence sky high, Bland followed his steady first round 70, with a blazing four-under-par 67 to sit top of the pile.
“I was coming off a couple of good results, a win and a third in Europe. I was feeling pretty good about my game. I’ve been driving the ball well for five, six weeks now, which is the cornerstone if you’re going to put a fight up for a US Open.
“When I saw this place on Monday, it kind of set up to my eye. There’s not too many sort of doglegs. It’s all there just straight in front of me, and that’s the kind of golf course I like.” He said.
Mixing four birdies and two bogies on his front nine, Bland would go on a sensational run, producing some sublime approach play to sit, at one point, two shots clear of Russell Henley.
Despite a bogey at the eighth (his 17th) he would par the monstrous last hole to carry on his great run..
Before his turnaround in form, Bland’s struggles had been well documented, with the Englishman returning to the Challenge Tour four times, the most recent of which came in 2019.
Recapping on the past, Bland said: “When times got tough and I lost my card two or three times, I thought what am I going to do, go and get an office job? I’m not that intelligent, so it was just, right okay. I’ve always been someone that can get my head down and work hard, and I always knew I had the game to compete on the European Tour at the highest level. I’ve always known that.
“But with any golf career, you’re going to have peaks and troughs. Of course you are. I just think with every kind of sportsman, sportswoman, they have that never-die or that never-quit attitude, no matter whether it’s golf or it’s tennis or it’s boxing, whatever it is.
“The old saying is you get knocked down seven times, you get up eight. I’ve always had that kind of attitude that you just keep going. You never know in this game, you just keep going.”
Despite the recent success, Bland’s mindset continues to be humble: “I’m fortunate with what I do. I think we all are, whether you’re playing on the European Tour or the PGA Tour. I think any amateur golfer would probably give their right arm to play it as a living.
“I’ve always thought of it as I’m very fortunate that I can travel the world and play some of the best courses in the world and some of the biggest tournaments in the world. I’m certainly not looking at my career just now as sort of lack of success or anything like that. I just feel privileged that I can do what I do.”