A packed US Open leaderboard saw Paul Casey, Brian Harman, Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka on seven under after round two, with a further fourteen players within three of the leaders. It is the first time since the introduction of the official world rankings in 1986 that the top 3 players in the world missed the cut in the same major championship.
South Korea’s Kim Si-woo was one behind Fowler on nine under after also shooting 68, while three players – Patrick Reed, Russell Henley and Charley Hoffman were on eight under. He spent all day in the knee-high fescue and shot 78, his worst U.S. Open score.
Casey started eagle-birdie and finished with two birdies over the final four holes for his 66. “For me, if I can just stay where I am, just keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll have a chance”. “Yesterday (Thursday), I just hit some shots close and made some putts”. “I really like this golf course“, Johnson insisted.
“It doesn’t matter how long, how whatever the course is”, Thomas said about the longest course in major championship history. You know, I’ve got four weeks off now. Starting on the back nine, he exchanged a birdie on 11 with a bogey on 12.
“I think with everything so large, your target is larger and your misses get even more extreme”.
Just like that, Casey is 4 over for the day and now five shots out of the lead.
The 32-year-old American star had arrived at Erin Hills brimming with confidence, buoyed by the birth on Monday of his second son, and ready to tear into a course suited to his big-hitting game.
“It is always cool to be part of some sort of history in golf”, Fowler said.
Rain is expected Saturday, which should make the greens easy to stick and putt. Some of it nearly takes the bombers out of it.
World number one Dustin Johnson said he plans to take some time off with his family as he struggles to digest his US Open flop.
So there’s a very good chance this weekend that the run of first-time major winners dating to the 2015 PGA (Jason Day) will extend to seven. The top 18 players on the leaderboard going into the weekend have combined for zero majors.
On a day with scoring more hard, Hadwin found his game to be a little off early in the round but he was able to grind out pars with great putting.
Reed, who beat Rory McIlroy in the first singles contest at Hazeltine a year ago and was wearing the pants from his Ryder Cup uniform, said: “You always can take that fire from Ryder Cup and use it in other events”. It sets up really well for me, especially if I’m driving it like I did today. “Still 7 (under par)”.
Johnson was hitting it so well that he appeared to be safe even when he was on the cut line.
The Englishman began the day one shot behind Fowler and quickly joined the American at the top of the leaderboard.
“It was a good display, all my own fault, of what can happen if you get out of position on this golf course, which is what I did on 14″, Casey said. “I couldn’t possibly shoot any higher than I did”. 16 (getting an awkward bunker shot up and down) and 17 (where he cooked his second from the rough over the green) just to make some pars and give himself some momentum to hold onto heading into the weekend.
Matsuyama, the world number four, had to settle for a one-under-par 71 which left him on six under, six off the pace.