Four share lead at US Open

He loved Erin Hills, a course with wide fairways between the knee-high fescue that he figured would allow him to attack.

Matsuyama, a 25-year-old, four-time PGA Tour victor from Japan, had a putt for birdie on the par-5 18th hole, which would have been only the second 8-under round in U.S. Open history, matching Johnny Miller's 63 at par-71 Oakmont in 1973.

Johnson has now missed the cut in consecutive events just four times in the last 18 months. "For the most part, the wind was nonexistent". He didn't make a birdie the rest of the way and had to settle for a 70. "I enjoyed the walk, the golf course is handsome but I just didn't execute".

The biggest surprise at this U.S. Open was not who was leading, but who was leaving.

Nobody should have been shocked to see Casey up there on seven-under, alongside another Englishman in Tommy Fleetwood, who shot a 70, and the Americans Brian Harman (70) and Brooks Kopeka (70). But a 675-yard par-5, nobody's hitting to that.

McIlroy turned for home, knowing that he would need to get four or five birdies on the way back but three bogeys in a row from holes 1 to 3 - his 10th-12th - ended his chances.

"Not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an eight on the card, but I'm a pretty happy man", said Casey.

Jamie Lovemark, Rickie Fowler and J.B. Holmes, meanwhile, are a shot further back from the leaders.

On Thursday, McIlroy hit just five fairways and nine greens in regulation.

Six players are at 4-under, including Chez Reavie, the other player to shoot 65.

And then, the old McIlroy kicked into gear and finished with a flurry of gained shots as he kept the ball in play off the tee and proved majestic with his mid-irons to set up several birdie chances.

"I think those two things and a lot of hard work, really". That fell one short of the record for most sub-par rounds in the second round, when 47 players broke par in 1990 at Medinah Country Club. Going into the final round, 42 players were still under par.

Rory McIlroy at least had the satisfaction of four birdies in his last six holes to improve by seven shots on his opening 78, while Jason Day's 75 left him 10 over and world number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson finished four over.

With a host of high-profile stars, including the top three in the world rankings, having missed the cut, the top 18 at the end of round two was made up entirely of players still seeking their first major.

Said Johnson, who was 3 over: "I really like this golf course, it sets up well for me". Former US Open champion Ernie Els chose the 20th anniversary of his last victory in the tournament to remind fans that he is not quite ready to be put out to grass.

"It's all good holing the putts on the practice green, but it's a different kettle of fish when you get out on the course and have to read slope, read downhill, uphill into the green, side green".

"This week I've been working with my coach, just sitting there and thinking, all right, let's go out and try to make a good golf swing and try to make a good putt". The forecast calls for overnight showers and scattered thunderstorms throughout Saturday. It didn't get any better when he finally made the green. If the storms stay away, Erin Hills could become a nasty beast.

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