US Open: Defending champion Dustin Johnson makes early exit

And I think with everything so large, your target is larger and your misses get even more extreme. Even here in Erin where the passionate Wisconsin fans see all of the danger lurking and try to figure out how they'd break 150 if they played here, there is still a sense that each birdie delivers a blow to Heartland pride.

Henrik Stenson. Alex Noren. Fortunately for the Englishman, he also carded five straight birdies on the front nine and signed for a 1-under 71 that leaves him at minus-7 through 36 holes.

Eight of the top 12 players in the world won't be around for the weekend at Erin Hills, leaving a tournament as open as the land on which it was built.

Coming off a bumpy few U.S. Opens, it has set up this gargantuan course to err on the side of moving the 156-player field around in what looked like six hours in the making.

The last six majors have been won by first-timers, and that cycle has a good chance to continue.

Jason Day, the world number three, also looks poised to get the weekend off after a 75 left the Australian at 10 over through two round.

The four-way tie was the most after two rounds in a U.S. Open since Winged Foot in 1974, back when the names were more familiar for a major - Raymond Floyd, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Hale Irwin, who went on to win his first major.

Overnight leader Rickie Fowler went 28 holes in a row without a bogey and then had three in a row, and this has really made the tournament very interesting.

The U.S. Open was only his sixth start this year. I got out of position, but it's the attitude, it's the grit that matters at the end of the week. PGA Tour rookie Xander Schauffele didn't make a bogey at Erin Hills until his 27th hole, had his hiccup with a double bogey on the par-3 13th hole but still managed a 73. About all that save Erin Hills from another onslaught was a forecast for the strongest wind of the week.

"It didn't matter at that point because I was so far from the cut line".

This year's U.S. Open, though, is taking that to another level. PGA champion Jimmy Walker missed the cut as he continues to recover from Lyme Disease.

"I couldn't have shot any higher", Johnson said.

McIlroy, playing for the first time in a month to rest a nagging rib injury, finally got it going when it was too late.

Day and McIlroy never had much of a chance either, both out of the picture before Johnson even teed off.

Jason Day, of Australia, hits from a bunker on the eighth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday, June 15, 2017, at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.

"I started to let it go a little bit on the back nine". "Oh gosh, Jimmy, be good", he said to caddie Jimmy Johnson when the ball was in the air, and it was close to flawless. "But I'm looking forward to getting the job done". Moments later, he began a run of five straight birdies that put him right where he wanted to be going into the weekend. I guess it's [rare] you get through a U.S. Open or any major without some kind of hiccup.

  • Julie Sanders