Paul Casey part of 4-way tie atop US Open

Paul Casey part of 4-way tie atop US Open

On Friday, with Erin Hills beginning to firm up following early week rainstorms, the USGA chose to tuck some of the pins into tight spots after a fairly uncharacteristic U.S. Open opening round.

The top of the leaderboard is bunched up, with four players tied for the lead at 7 under, and three more a stroke behind, including Lovemark.

Count former Taylor County and University of Kentucky star J.B. Holmes among those in the mix.

The 28-year-old started day two with a one-shot cushion but a one-over-par 73 opened the door for a four-way tie at the top.

"I like this golf course".

"I just tried to smooth out the transition today", McIlroy said, "and it definitely worked".

After hitting his drive into the rough on the 17th hole, Hadwin did well to get his second shot up by the green.

Koepka, a power-hitting U.S. Ryder Cup team member, said, "I'm pretty chill anyway. I guess it's rare you get through a U.S. Open or any major without some kind of hiccup". "So I just need to go home, relax a little bit, hang out with the family and I'll see you at the Open Championship in a month". You know, I've got four weeks off now. With one more birdie on the back nine, Matsuyama carded a sparkling seven-under 65, matching Fowler for the low round of the week. He missed almost two months at the start of the year when he was diagnosed with a slight rib fracture, and then the latest break after The Players Championship. But, despite the considerable length of the course, the game's other big hitters aren't up front with him.

"It's one of the hardest tests of golf we get through the year", Fowler said. "You've got to make putts". "Some of it nearly takes the bombers out of it".

McIlroy meanwhile - who earlier in the week had advised players unable to hit the fairways to "pack their bags" - was left at five over par after a second-round 71. Not everyone can take advantage. Still, the USGA reacted to Thursday's unusually low scores by placing the pins in more hard locations Friday, seemingly finding the areas where there is a little more break on what are generally flat greens.

"It always does that", he said.

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Branden Grace (72), Louis Oosthuizen (70) and Brandon Stone (74) are level-par, but Charl Schwartzel (3-over), George Coetzee and Oliver Bekker (both 7-over) missed the cut.

"I've never led a U.S. Open, so tomorrow will be a very cool experience".

Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day all failed to make the cut at the U.S. Open on Friday, the first time that the top three players in the world failed to qualify for weekend play at the championship since the rankings were created in 1986.

Johnson also missed the cut at the Memorial, so this was the first time since 2013 (Pebble Beach, Riviera) that he has missed the cut in consecutive events. But then he three-putted from long range on the 13th and the 14th, and lost all hope when he missed the green on the 17th while going after the flag.

Some of the world's top-ranked players and pre-tournament favourites will miss the cut.

"I was upset with the score I had made, but it had, in no way, any effect on my attitude or how I was going to then approach the rest of the round or the next shot". "I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did".

"It's still Saturday, 36 holes is a very long time in a U.S. Open". But it was too little too late for the Northern Irishman who remains anchored near the bottom of the leaderboard at five over.

Thomas, decked out in fluorescent pink trousers, was on the move quickly with a birdie-birdie start and had an even hotter finish to his front nine, carding birdies on four-of-five closing holes, including the last three to move to seven-under.

Joining them with a weekend off - British Open champion Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and Adam Scott.

But the second-ranked player in the world still has a lot of ground to make up at Erin Hills.

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