Casey overcomes triple-bogey to tie for US Open lead

Rickie Fowler takes a one-shot lead into the second round of the US Open after firing a seven-under-par 65 at Erin Hills Golf Course

Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Brian Harman and Brooks Koepka are out in front on seven under par.

One stroke back are a trio of Americans in J.B. Holmes, Jamie Lovemark and first-round leader Fowler.

Tall fescue grass on the fourth, 12th, 14th and 18th holes at Erin Hills was being cut on Tuesday as McIlroy spoke to the media, which caught the 2011 champion by surprise. Back problems also contributed to an early exit at the Masters when Willett became the first defending champion since Canadian Mike Weir in 2004 to miss the cut. But the former Irish Open victor posted one under for the back nine to get into the clubhouse just inside the cut mark.

But the top-ranked players, with the exception of Garcia, who shot 2 under 70, faltered during the opening round.

"I was a little anxious going out there", McIlroy said.

Both golfers struggled to find the fairways and too often they were forced to hack it out of the waist-deep rough.

McIlroy, sidelined for a month with rib and back injuries, could not shake off the rust missing the US Open cut for the second consecutive year. It's still Saturday, 36 holes is a very long time in a US Open.

KEY STATISTIC: The cut, at 1 over, tied a U.S. Open record set in 1990 at Medinah. But he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie chances in that stretch, and one of the birdies he made was a two-putt from 20 feet on the par-5 seventh. "I was out of it. trying to stay out of the way of Rory".

Stricker, who recently turned 50, admitted the extreme length of the course - it played at 7,839 yards Friday - limits his opportunities to make birdies and therefore gain much momentum.

More news: Champions Trophy 2017: England beat New Zealand, make it to semi finals

Paul Casey rode a rollercoaster to a four-way share of second-round lead at the US Open on Friday.

"If you look at the golf course and you even talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up ideal for us".

Harman, a two-time PGA Tour victor from Georgia, said, "I was pretty nervous this morning and I got off to a little shaky start".

He made four birdies over the last six holes to salvage a 71, but he still missed the cut for the second straight year.

Fowler started brightly and moved from his starting seven under to nine under at one stage of his second round, while fellow Ryder Cup star Koepka also managed to get to nine under par.

Casey and other early starters were greeted by more challenging conditions than those they faced in the opening round as winds picked up and greens firmed around the links-style layout, making the longest course in U.S. Open history play even longer.

"I definitely hit it better off the tee and gave myself a lot more looks at birdie but at the end of the day I need competitive rounds with a card in my hand and I've been light on those this year".

And despite carding four birdies in his last six holes for a 71 on Friday, the four-time major victor saw his own pre-event prediction come true, having said on Tuesday that anyone who could not hit the wide fairways "might as well pack your bags and go home".

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