Four Sit Atop a Crowded Leaderboard at US Open

Fleetwood knew he had to keep the birdies flowing as most of the field were tearing it up at rain-softened Erin Hills - and he did just that to finish tied with Thomas and Koepka on 11 under par, one shot behind leader Brian Harman.

Casey nearly watched his U.S. Open hopes sink with a triple-bogey eight on the par-five 14th hole, and a bogey on the next that dropped him to two under for the tournament.

Fowler will be among the later starters along with defending champion Dustin Johnson, who opened defence of his crown with shaky three-over 75 and will need to mount a charge to make the cut.

Then came the par-five 14th hole.

The links-style layout, the longest course to stage a U.S. Open, had the most sub-par scores in a first round at the championship, while the one-over-par cut matched the record low previously set in 1990 at Medinah. Both players are major championship winners that could work their way back into contention.

However, after dropping another shot on the 15th, Casey regained his composure superbly to birdie the 17th and 18th, the latter being the second longest hole in major history at 676 yards.

The 24-year-old's score is the lowest in relation to par in the history of the US Open, surpassing the eight-under 63 carded by Johnny Miller to win at Oakmont in 1973.

It was the second straight year McIlroy missed the cut at the U.S. Open. He then calmly sank the putt for the record round and to take a two-shot lead into the clubhouse.

"I just naturally have done it since I was 15 or 16". Spieth never wandered into negative numbers on the front nine, posting only two birdies the entire day (he has six on the week).

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It was all part of a dizzying day at the U.S. Open where at times the leaderboard resembled a game of musical chairs with names moving up and down. "Every time you have a hard golf course, they'll jump out at the beginning, and Rickie (Fowler) had that great run yesterday, and he's seeing 7 (under par)".

"The greens were still receptive to good shots, but they were firmer and faster", said Fowler.

Charley Hoffman is all by himself on top of the U.S. Open - for now.

Jason Day followed up a 79 in the first round with a 75 in round two, Rory McIlroy was always up against it after a 78 on Thursday and although he shot one under on Friday he was well short of the cut.

"I'm optimistic with where my game is", he said.

Koepka also reached the green in two on the 667-yard closing hole for a two-putt birdie and a 68.

"I felt the most calm I have in a major in a long time this week", said Day, who arrived last Friday.

The last six majors have been taken by first-time winners. The cut line of 1 over turned out to be three (!) shots easier than the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial. He also just shot a 66-73 in his first two rounds at Erin Hills and sits T8 after two rounds. I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did, I just struggled on the greens.

Si Woo Kim, who captured The Players Championship a month ago, had a 70 and was at 5-under 139 along with a pair of U.S. Open newcomers. "I think it's going to produce a really great champion". The Englishman shot a one-under 71 but had to fight back from two bogeys and a triple bogey in his first six holes.

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