Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Industry | By Dora Warner

Four tied atop US Open leaderboard heading into weekend


Casey, 34, brilliantly bounced back from an early round triple bogey "8" to birdie five holes in succession and end his day tied at the top of the leaderboard with fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and the American duo of Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman at seven under.

After grabbing a share of the early second round lead at the U.S. Open, Paul Casey crashed down the leaderboard with a triple bogey as the Erin Hills layout showed its teeth on Friday.

The top two ranked players in the world, defending champion Dustin Johnson and 2011 US Open victor Rory McIlroy, also failed to make the cut.

Casey birdied five straight holes before a 32-foot putt for birdie No. 6 strayed a foot left of the hole at the par-4 fourth.

In a week that lacks the gusto of previous Opens and major championships, Fowler is the clear-cut favorite in Las Vegas (5/1), with golf's governing bodies (he can reach millennials!) and among the patrons on the ground here at Erin Hills.

Between them all you won't find one victor of a major and only Fowler with star power.

Casey said he couldn't remember the last time he had five birdies in a row or an eight in a competitive round.

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Rain-softened conditions at Erin Hills made greens more receptive and a lack of brisk winds left the course virtually defenceless.

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Fowler pitched the ball to about 18 feet, then missed the next putt on his way to a bogey.

"I like this golf course".

Fowler, meanwhile, entered the round with a one-shot lead over Casey and Xander Schauffele, who is now in the group at 5 under. That it was achieved despite the 24-year-old Kentucky native making two bogeys on an overcast day where greens were soft and red numbers were plentiful.

McIlroy's pre-tournament comments proved disappointingly accurate after he had predicted that anyone who could not hit the wide fairways "might as well pack your bags and go home".

Rickie Fowler is ready for a stretch run this weekend.

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The U.S. Open was only his sixth start this year.

Among those getting the weekend off were Justin Rose (+2), Adam Scott (+3), Bubba Watson (+4), No. 1 Dustin Johnson (+4), No. 2 Rory McIlroy (+5), Jon Rahm (+5) and No. 3 Jason Day (+10).

English says "They want par to be a good score, and this afternoon it will be".

"Not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an 8 on the card, but I'm a pretty happy man", said Casey. "There's maybe two or three holes, but other than that it's bombs away".

McIlroy, playing for the first time in a month to rest a nagging rib injury, finally got it going when it was too late.

"I really like this golf course; it sets up really well for me, especially if I'm driving it like I did today, " said Johnson, who shot 73 along with a first-round 75 to finish at 148.

"I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did", Johnson said. He shot 75 and missed the cut. The runner-up finish, along with a $1 million check, moved him into the top 50 and secured his spot in the Masters and U.S. Open. "Hopefully I've got a lot of the bad stuff out of my system yesterday and some parts today".

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