Birdies lift Paul Casey after rough patch at US Open

Solenn Plantier
Juin 17, 2017

Erin Hills may have been easy-as-can-be Thursday.

Rory McIlroy and Jason Day also left Erin Hills earlier than anyone expected.

ERIN, Wis. - Defending champion and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson missed the cut at the U.S. Open on Friday, and he will join several of golf's headliners with a weekend off.

Casey sandwiched a pair of bogeys around his triple during a four-hole stretch of the back nine. He was tied for 151st place — five from the bottom. "You never know what one shot's going to count for". A day after Rickie Fowler's 7-under opening round, that same score is still leading but it's shared by four players - not including Fowler, who shot a 1-over 73 to sit one back.

McIlroy won the US Open with a record 16-under-par total in 2011, but was a combined 50 over par for his seven other appearances before this week and missed the cut at Oakmont a year ago following rounds of 77 and 71.

The Englishman found himself in trouble when he flew his approach out of rough over the green into the deep fescue and needed five more strokes to get in the cup. He shot 42 on the back.

It was McIlroy's first tournament since taking time off to tend to a recurring rib injury. "Timing was a little off". "I got off to a great start yesterday - I birdied the first hole".

"Not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an eight on the card, but I'm a pretty happy man", Casey said after his one-under round. "I can't put it any other way". He missed the cut at last year's PGA and withdrew from this year's Masters after falling down a staircase.

Shane Lowry is the only Irish golfer now inside the projected cut mark of 1-over at the US Open as Day 2 unfolds.

"It's been the best preparation going into a major", Day said.

It wasn't the only one. His third shot went over the back of the green, and it took him five shots from there, including a chip that rolled back to his feet.

"It's weird", he said.

McIlroy hit just five of 14 fairways on his way to a 6-over 78 in the first round.

"I had been swinging it well and it felt really, really good a couple holes later to be picking the ball out of the hole for a birdie".

A solid tee-shot on the par-three sixth gave him another chance which he rolled in nervelessly from 13ft.

"I hate just being in the situation where I've been in a good spot and maybe let it get away from me a little bit and let some mistakes compound and turn a round that you (just) kind of fight through it and end up being in a decent spot after the day", Fowler said. When it was clear he had nothing going in the second round, he was simply trying to stay out of the way.

He added another birdie on the par-3 13th.

He'll need so much help, and he figures it might need to start with the USGA.

"I've been very light on competitive rounds", McIlroy said.

"I'm playing the weekend", Fowler said.

Getting to the weekend might feel like a victory all by itself.

"I was sticking to the same gameplan, I was doing the same things", said Hadwin, of Abbotsford, B.C.

The U.S. Golf Association says complimentary bottled water will be provided at all drinking water stations for the rest of the tournament, which runs through Sunday.

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