Long-driving Champ takes advantage of Erin Hills' generosity

Scheffler isn't the only amateur making waves at Erin Hills, with Cameron Champ two shots back of the lead at 5 under.

Defending champion Johnson trudged to the exit at Erin Hills after failing to make the halfway cut, which fell at one-over-145.

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.

Johnson, who had bullishly expected to do well on a course he believed to be perfectly suited to his game, admitted he was surprised to be out after only 36 holes.

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

"If you look at the golf course and you even talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up flawless for us".

The last time Day missed a cut in a major was the 2012 PGA Championship, ending a run of 17, which was the longest active streak.

England's Paul Casey and compatriot Tommy Fleetwood were bunched on seven under alongside Americans Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman at the top.

That was a 10-shot improvement on his second round and left the 26-year-old on eight under par as he seeks to turn his Ryder Cup heroics into individual success.

Rickie Fowler is playing what his coach Butch Harmon says is "the best golf he has ever played in his life" right now.

South Korea's Kim Si-Woo was one behind Fowler on nine under after also shooting 68, while three players - Patrick Reed, Russell Henley and Charley Hoffman were on eight under.

Chez Reavie matched Matsuyama's 65 in round two to lead a group at four under. I don't know what else it was. "There were a couple of dicey pin placements out there that you had to be careful about, but it was still scoreable".

"Today was an off day", Spieth told reporters afterward at Erin Hills.

Other notable players failing to make the cut included British Open champion Henrik Stenson (147), former Masters winners Charl Schwartzel (147) of South Africa and Australian Adam Scott (147) and double Masters victor Bubba Watson (148).

It was more positive news for Leishman, who is the only Australian still alive in the tournament on 4-under through 36 holes following an even-par 72.

"I hit the ball better than I did yesterday, I drove it very well and hit a lot of good iron shots, I just didn't make any putts", said the world No 1, who's four over score was three too many to make the weekend.

"It's one of the hardest tests of golf we get through the year", Fowler said. "Yeah, it was a bit of a roller coaster".

Johnson's one-over-par-73 on Friday was not enough to cancel out the damage he incurred after opening with a three-over-par-75 on Thursday. "I felt the most calm I have in a major in a long time this week".

Hoffman has opened his third round at Erin Hills with two birdies to move into a four-way tie for second at 6 under.

"It's pretty frustrating when I got here Friday, put a lot of work in - not a lot, but I tried to pace myself", said Day. It's just a matter of getting competitive rounds under my belt. He was coasting along Friday, playing par golf and hanging out at the top of the leaderboard.

  • Julie Sanders