Woodland enjoyed the first-round lead following his opening 64 in Missouri, and he added a composed 66 to set the early clubhouse target at 10 under on Friday as Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka put themselves in good positions for a weekend charge.
Tiger Woods made a superb start to his second round as he birdied three of the first five holes, but he had just hit his drive on the long eighth when the players were forced from the course at 3:35pm local time with thunder and lightning imminent.
The adverse weather did not relent, and tournament officials took the decision to abandon play for the day two hours after the initial suspension, and half the field will return to complete their second rounds at 7am on Saturday morning.
But Woodland can enjoy a good lie-in after completing his round, which featured four birdies, two bogeys and a stunning eagle at the long 17th after he drilled a 265-yard second to within six feet and rolled in the putt for a rare three.
Woodland, who has never posted a top-10 finish in a major, enjoys a one-shot lead in the clubhouse over Kevin Kisner, who was one of a number of players among the early starters looking to emulate Branden Grace’s major-record 62 in last year’s Open at Royal Birkdale.
Kisner began at the 10th and carded six birdies in a back-nine 29, and he followed a run of six pars with another gain at the seventh before failing to take advantage of the par-five eighth and missing the green with his approach to the ninth, which led to his only bogey of the day.
His 64 was soon beaten by back-to-back US Open champion Koepka, who made seven birdies and kept a bogey off his card to vault to eight under and into outright third, although he missed from 20 feet on his final green to settle for one of two 63s on Friday morning.
The other was returned by former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who carded eight birdies and just one blemish as he raced to seven under for the tournament alongside Johnson, who was one over for the day with seven to play before reviving his challenge with five birdies over the next six holes.
Schwartzel and Johnson share with Thomas Pieters, whose bid for a second straight Ryder Cup appearance gathered further momentum when he fired a four-birdie 66, while Rickie Fowler is also at seven under with eight holes of his second round remaining.
Open champion Francesco Molinari kept himself in contention for a second straight major victory as he added a solid 67 to his opening 68 which got him to five under alongside Jon Rahm, who was also three under for day two and did well to save par on the eighth – his 17th – when he accidentally kicked his ball while looking for it in the left rough.
Justin Rose admitted he was struggling with his iron play after a mixed-bag of a 69 left him at four under and one ahead of Woods, who gave the vast crowds plenty to cheer early on when he holed from 12 feet for birdie at the second and added another from half that distance on the next green.
The Woods putter was on target again on the fifth, but he faces a long day on Saturday as he has 11 holes of his second round to complete with Rory McIlroy and defending champion Justin Thomas.
Thomas picked up an early birdie at the second and parred his other six holes to remain on two under, but McIlroy is flirting with the cut after opening with seven consecutive pars having also parred his final 10 holes on Thursday.
The halfway cut is projected to be at level par, which means Sergio Garcia is likely to miss the weekend for the fifth major in a row after the Spaniard struggled to a 71 that included a trip to the water at the sixth which led to a double-bogey five.
But Masters champion Patrick Reed will not be returning on Saturday after closing on three over, while Bubba Watson and Paul Casey crashed out on eight over par.