All to play for as round three begins at Erin Hills

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

The Englishman rallied with a string of five birdies in a row on the way to a one-under 71 that put the smile back on his face and his name on top of the leaderboard at Erin Hills.

And Casey was joined at the end of play by compatriot Tommy Fleetwood, and USA duo Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman on seven under par.

It sounds as if Erin Hills is becoming more challenging with each passing minute.

American Patrick Reed also flirted with the US Open record, signing for a seven-under 65 to headline a pack of five at eight-under. "I've never played in [one of the final pairings of] a U.S. Open, so tomorrow will be a very cool experience".

For the first time in a major, the top three players in the world all failed to make the cut.

Not everyone was participating in the birdie binge.

Three players are a shot back - Jamie Lovemark (69), first-round leader Rickie Fowler (73) and J.B. Holmes (69). Still, he set a high bar for himself by winning both the 2015 Masters and U.S. Open and one wonders how long this major slump might continue. "I think it's going to produce a really great champion". 1, 2 and 3 all missed the cut in a major.

Hideki Matsuyama was part of a five-strong group a shot further back after a brilliant 65, the Japanese star racing to the turn in 30 and picking up another shot on the 13th before having to settle for five closing pars.

"I've been striking the ball well", Spieth said.

McIlroy missed the cut for a second consecutive U.S. Open.

Other notable players failing to make the cut included British Open champion Henrik Stenson (147), former Masters winners Charl Schwartzel (147) of South Africa and Australian Adam Scott (147) and double Masters victor Bubba Watson (148).

Casey, who began the day one shot back of Fowler, found trouble when he flew his approach out of rough over the green at the par-five 14th, his fifth, into the deep fescue and needed five more strokes to get in the cup. "For me, if I can just stay where I am, just keep doing what I'm doing, I'll have a chance".

Asked if he would have been able to recover from such a mistake earlier in his career, Casey added: "In my good seasons, yes, but there have been times when I struggled, so probably not!" I've got four weeks off now and I'm looking forward to it very much. "So it's pretty simple, I just didn't get it in the hole fast enough". That did not happen, however, and now there are four players tied atop the leaderboard.

None of the leaders had as shaky a stretch as Casey, who made 8 on the par-5 14th hole - after hitting into the fescue and almost whiffing on his swing to get out - and bogeyed the next hole. Reavie had five birdies in a six-hole stretch beginning on No. 11.

World number two Rory McIlroy has missed the cut at the US Open for the second year running.

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

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