Three big-time stars not playing the weekend at US Open

Clyde Nash
June 18, 2017

Beginning one off the pace, Casey birdied the 11th to move alongside Fowler but slipped down the leaderboard by following a blemish at the next with a triple-bogey at 14 and bogey at the 15th. No penalty was assessed, but after officials saw the video, they thought one might be called for.

Reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia headlines a group still in the hunt at three under.

Westwood had bogeyed the third and fifth before a superb tee shot on the 239-yard sixth - which played as the most hard hole on Thursday - set up a birdie from 18 feet. As full as the leaderboard was, however, most of the usual suspects at golf's majors were missing.

He then hacked out his fifth out sideways and now some 52-feet from the hole from where he chipped and two putted. But each of those three favorites missed the cut. The world's fourth-ranked player birdied six of his first eight holes, shooting six-under 30 going out.

Once again golfers were taking full advantage of an Erin Hills layout softened by overnight rain, attacking the pins with gusto and none more than Thomas, who had six birdies on a blistering outward nine.

Leishman is now sharing eighth place, only three shots back of co-leaders Rickie Fowler and England's Paul Casey at seven-under. No harm, no foul. His turnaround came on the eighth hole when he proceeded to go on a run of five straight birdies that brought his score back under par for the day. "Hopefully I've got a lot of the bad stuff out of my system yesterday and some parts today".

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Casey laid up in the rough, took two chops to get out of more rough behind the 14th green, and staggered away with a triple-bogey 8 that might have ruined his day at Erin Hills. So there he stood at two under and seemingly out of the picture.

"If you look at the golf course and you even talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up flawless for us, " Johnson said. "But I played pretty well". "It was a bit of a roller coaster".

Koepka - a graduate of Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach - is one of those players that the smart guys like to put in their fantasy league. Lots of talent, just looking for that one break-out moment.

RIDE 'EM COWBOYS: Jordan Niebrugge wore an orange shirt for the second round at the U.S. Open, switching to a colour he usually dons on Sundays. Despite another crush of low scores, the U.S. Open late Friday became at least as much about who is out than who is in.

The 25-year-old played flawlessly in the second round, relying on pinpoint accuracy from the fairways and a red-hot putter to reel off seven birdies and 11 pars. I've got four weeks off now. "You're going to hit a foul ball on the widest fairway on the course?"

"I started to let it go a little bit on the back nine there and showed what I can do with birdies at four of the last six", McIlroy said.

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The 40-year-old Hoffman is playing in his sixth U.S. Open.

McIlroy said he would be hitting the practice ground this weekend. "We'll just keep doing the same thing I've been doing", Holmes said.

Rickie Fowler accomplished the feat in the first round, and Hideki Matsuyama and Chez Reavie hit the number Thursday.

But that's not all that makes the possibilities so limitless Saturday.

"It's our national championship, so to be in good position and have a chance to win it, it's special".

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