Casey rides rollercoaster up US Open leaderboard

Playing in the same group in the first round of the U.S. Open, two of the world's best found unplayable lies in the tall fescue, pitch shots that went up the hill, then rolled back down, awkward stances and more than enough mistakes to place them both in danger of missing the cut.

Eight of the top 12 in the world will not be around for the weekend at this most unusual U.S. Open, where the top 60 and ties advanced to the final two rounds. He shot 73 and missed the cut by three. Fowler, looking to win his first major, feels only positive vibes about the first two days.

And it doesn't stop there. He has four top 10s between the European and PGA Tours this season and is up to No. 33 in the world ranking.

Attribute that to the Wisconsin weather.

Day never had a chance, following his career-worst 79 in a U.S. Open with a 75. The wind wasn't almost as strong as thought.

World number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson is among the late starters and will have to improve on Thursday's three-over effort if he hopes to take his title defence into the weekend.

Fowler's seven birdies were from no more than 12 feet, including three in a row around the turn. Those dozens of players under par.

The Englishman began the day one shot behind Fowler and quickly joined the American at the top of the leaderboard. Jon Rahm. Justin Rose.

"Not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an 8 on the card, but I'm a pretty happy man", Casey said. It has learned to accept that in pristine scoring conditions - mainly, soft conditions - low scores don't distract from the tournament. McIlroy was only one shot better.

The Japanese golfer hit a disappointing 74 on Thursday but roared back up the leaderboard-74 places, to be exact-on Friday with a seven-under 65. They were joined by Harman and Fleetwood, who each had a 70. None has ever won a major, and neither have the next 14 players behind them.

Still to be determined is what kind of test Erin Hills can present the rest of the week, especially with more rain on the way Friday and Saturday afternoon.

It was the second straight year McIlroy missed the cut at the U.S. Open.

And the biggest test of all could be the USGA proving that it's not trying to protect par.

"I think just in practice I was really, really good, and I just wasn't able to translate that onto the golf course", said the Ulsterman, who has played just six events this year and none since The Players four weeks ago. "It's definitely out there if you can get yourself on the fairways". What we do talk about is making sure we can adjust the course.

"We've got an interesting day tomorrow, and then we've got a really, really tough day on Sunday".

"It's just golf. It's frustrating but I don't let it bother me".

  • Larry Hoffman