Johnson blamed his struggles this week on one club – his putter. “I think at this point in time I just need to play”.

That’s something Day, the No. 3 player in the world, rarely says at a major.

Matsuyama vaulted into contention at the U.S. Open with a 7-under 65 on Friday, moving to 5 under and a tie for eighth – just two shots back of the four-way tie atop the crowded leaderboard. The top 60 and ties qualify for the final 36 holes.

McIlroy birdied four of his last six holes at Erin Hills to improve seven shots on his opening 78, but still missed the cut by four shots.

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. “But I’m a pretty happy man”. I’m going to let it happen.

The Florida native has more good finishes in the majors than any of the other four. He shot 75 and missed the cut.

Rory McIlroy joked earlier in the week that anyone who couldn’t hit such wide fairways “might as well pack your bags and go home”.

Major champions Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker, Charl Schwartzel and Jason Dufner also missed.

Danny Willett’s miserable post-Masters run continued when a back injury forced him out before tee-off. He opened Thursday with a 9-over 81.

But there was no hope for Day and McIlroy.

Just like that, Casey is 4 over for the day and now five shots out of the lead.

With a record number of scores under par in Round 1, it’s no surprise the course was set up tougher for Round 2. “Just excited to get on a run of golf and get going”.

With only a gentle breeze and rains having taken the bite out of the monstrous 7,173-metre (7,845-yard) course, players tore apart the links-style layout, attacking the pins with bravado on a day when 17 competitors broke 70.

“I showed up for the last six holes at least”, joked McIlroy, who was three over par after 12 holes before carding birdies on the fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth. “But I think at the end of the day, it’s competitive rounds and get the card in my hand”.

McIlroy has a hectic schedule again. Even though he hasn’t won since THE PLAYERS Championship in 2016, he had been playing better of late, finishing second late last month at the AT&T Byron Nelson. The last major he played in was the 2015 PGA Championship.

That’s eight of the next 10 weeks after just seven starts in 2017. They were three shots clear of anyone else.

“I couldn’t possibly shoot any higher than I did”, Johnson said.

“It was a pleasure to work on it and we’re very proud of that golf course [Diamond Hawk]” Hurdzan said while watching the best golfers in the world try and figure out his design carved into the Wisconsin countryside.

Lowry’s opening 71 might have been a 68 or 69 had he not lost focus towards the end of the day.

McIlroy however, who is returning from a hip and back injury, put a courageous face on his second consecutive missed cut at a US Open following his exit at the halfway stage in 2016. Jason Day made two triple bogeys and closed with a birdie to avoid the indignity of shooting 80. His total of 154 equaled his worse two-round total at a major, matching his first two rounds at The Open in 2013.


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