McIlroy, Day try to make up ground, make cut at US Open

Rufina Vignone
Giugno 27, 2017

Stricker improved by a stroke even though Erin Hills showed a few more teeth than it had in Thursday's opening round.

The rounds of the day were turned in by Hideki Matsuyama and Chez Reavie, who equaled Fowler's 65 on Thursday.

Watch the best shots from round 2.

Sure, he birdied four of his last six holes to salvage a 71 and finish at 5-over 149. Moments later, he began a run of five straight birdies that put him right where he wanted to be going into the weekend.

There's a four-way tie for the lead at the U.S. Open. All four finished Friday's second round at 7-under-par 137 playing a course that prevented the world's three top-ranked players from moving on.

Koepka, Harman and Fleetwood all shot matching two-under 70s to join Casey at seven under. He missed the 15-footer. He shot 73 and missed the cut by three.

The greens, predictably, had become quicker in the scorching sun and the pins, even more predictably, were not as generously set.

While Erin Hills was still not playing as hard as many past U.S. Open courses, it was beginning to firm up from the early week rain, plus the USGA had a few tricks up its sleeve. It was 1 over at Medinah in 1990.

Still to be determined was who made it to the weekend, and where the cut would fall. A birdie at the 11th hole took him to seven-under, and it looked as though he would build on an excellent opening score of 66 with another strong day. The record for a lowest cut was 1-over 145 at Medinah in 1990. Tommy Fleetwood may not move the needle. Authorities believe it was from natural causes. No other information was provided. "It's still Saturday - 36 holes is a very long time in a U.S. Open".

The world number two, who earlier in the week suggested players unable to find the fairways should "pack their bags", is now contemplating an early exit following a second-round 71. He was 13th past year at Oakmont.

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

"I made some good swings and some not so great", he said. "I actually made a good bogey on 17".

Harris English is 4 under after a second-round 69. Players noticed firmer greens that were allowing putts to race past the hole.

"We're in a good spot", he said.

It didn't for Rory McIlroy, either.

Fowler finished in the top 5 in all four majors in 2014, and it appeared that would be his springboard to the next level. The Englishman shot a one-under 71 but had to fight back from two bogeys and a triple bogey in his first six holes.

McIlroy bounced back with a birdie from 12 feet on the 13th, but carded a hat-trick of bogeys from the first to slump to nine over par. This one he'd rather forget.

The 23-year-old from San Diego had been having an excellent debut at the Open.

Paul Casey's birdie run is over. He lapped the field on the back nine with his 4-under 32.

The performance of the 23-year-old from San Diego has been no less remarkable. You can still make birdies out there. He shot 75 and missed the cut.

Also back in the mix: the mighty Paul Casey.

"It was still gettable", said Charley Hoffman, who has posted 70-70 and is three shots out of the lead.

Here comes Si Woo Kim. He is 3 under for the tournament.

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. But that wasn't the problem.

Then came the par-five 14th hole.

In all, eight of the world's top 12 will the absent from the shootout for the title, including each of the top three for the first time since the world rankings were introduced in 1986.

This is his sixth year on the Tour and fifth U.S. Open. He doesn't play until Friday afternoon. 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.

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