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

US Open: Defending champion Dustin Johnson makes early exit

US Open: Defending champion Dustin Johnson makes early exit

The cut was at one-over par after Friday's round, allowing 68 golfers to make it to the weekend. This week marked his seventh U.S. Open; he'd never missed a cut, and counts five top-10 finishes.

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

The cut has been made at +1 ahead of the final two days of action at Erin Hills, Wisconsin. He was coasting along Friday, playing par golf and hanging out at the top of the leaderboard.

"I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did", Johnson said.

"I had been swinging it well and it felt really, really good a couple holes later to be picking the ball out of the hole for a birdie". I just struggled on the greens. "So, all in all, not bad". "Justin Thomas is a streak player and I was a streak player". Overnight co-leader Paul Casey shot 75.

Fowler, sharing a house with Thomas this week, was being left behind until he ran off three straight birdies and shot 68. No harm, no foul.

"I was a little mad at myself because I could feel I was hungry on 14 (where he parred the par-five) and 15". There was a slight breeze out there, and the greens were receptive if you were in the fairway.

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

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But Casey rebounded with five straight birdies at Nos. "But I'm a pretty happy man".

Garcia carded an eagle, three birdies and three bogeys in a roller coaster round.

"We've got an interesting day tomorrow, and then we've got a really, really tough day on Sunday", he said. The 34-year-old out of Oklahoma State has risen all the way to No. 8 in the world ranking, up from 108 just one year ago. The top 18 players on the leaderboard going into the weekend have combined for zero majors. His best finish was fourth in 2014 at Pinehurst.

Li turned professional at age 16 and won the Volvo China Open last year on the European Tour, securing a two-year membership and qualifying for the Rio Olympics.

Germany's Martin Kaymer, victor in 2014, took 41 shots to complete the front nine and although he picked up two birdies on the back nine, his three-over 75 saw him drop back to level par. He missed a six-foot putt on his last hole, which would have given him sole possession of the lead.

"I didn't think it was the putter, it was the guy on the end of it", said McIlroy, who had 62 putts over two rounds.

"I haven't driven it well, not wedged it close enough - dumb stuff", he said.

He did well to save par at the 232-yard sixth, where he pushed a five-iron into a cavernous greenside bunker.

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"You get going in that hay, and you can't get out of it".

Fleetwood found his way to the top with a rather ordinary four-birdie, two-bogey round.

The 26-year-old Englishman has been on the European Tour since 2011.

Shortest U.S. Open course since World War II? "Anything can happen. There are always ups and downs out there". He made birdie at the par-4 fifth standing atop a sidehill in the left fringe with his chest facing the hole. At 30, Harman has been around long enough to claim two PGA victories.

What would winning the U.S. Open do for him?

"I fought well on the back nine", Lowry said. "And I'm sure it will be rough this weekend".

It's not just the expectations of those watching around the world but a self-imposed pressure and McIlroy's disastrous opening round owed as much to his determination to regain his throne as golf's crown prince as his rustiness.

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Thomas carded a sensational, 9 under 63 at Erin Hills on Saturday to move firmly into contention at the year's second major. Schauffele had a chance to tie Fowler for the lead until his 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 ninth slid by on the right.


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