Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Four tied for lead in US Open


The Northern Irishman closed out his round in style with four birdies over his final six holes for a 71 but it was a case of too little unable to undo the damage of a first round 78.

The four players tied for the lead - Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and Savannah native Brian Harman - created the largest 36-hole logjam in 43 years at the U.S. Open.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia said he was happy to be in the hunt at the U.S. Open and that his chances of adding a second successive major would improve if the course toughened up in the upcoming rounds.

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. He had no explanation or theory on why the top three players in the world would not be around for the weekend - the first time since the Official World Golf Ranking debuted in 1986 that the top three in the world missed the cut at a major.

Fowler had a one-shot lead over Paul Casey and US Open newcomer Xander Schauffele.

"I know if I hit fairways around here, the course is still soft enough you can get it close and give yourself a lot of looks for birdies", he said.

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. "I feel like that's going to help me to get back into contention and hopefully try to win some of these things".

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). The next one went long, he chipped up to 12 feet and took two putts from there. "I drove the ball well, my irons were good".

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"We're in a good spot", Fowler said, referring to his status in the first-person plural after shooting 1-over 73. He hammered a chip from just short of the par-5 14th that led to another three-putt bogey.

It means Scott, Day, Wade Ormsby (six-over after a second 75) and Nick Flanagan (10-over after a 79) are all looking at a free weekend.

Rickie Fowler, Jamie Lovemark and J.B. Holmes were all one shot back, followed by a group of five at 5 under, including amateur Cameron Champ. Rory McIlroy is a huge fan of the golf course.

Newly branded as the "ultimate test in golf", the U.S. Open has always been famed for its toughness and Erin Hills was expected to add to that hard-man reputation. "I guess it's rare you get through a U.S. Open or any major without some kind of a hiccup". Then from there, I was just taking advantage of the par-5s.

"It was a good display, all my own fault, of what can happen if you get out of position on this golf course, which is what I did on 14", Casey said.

"I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did", Johnson said.

McIlroy, who has struggled through a nagging rib injury that has limited him to six tournaments this year, saw some positive signs in the second round after complaining about feeling rusty after his substandard opening 18 holes.

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