Newly branded as the "ultimate test in golf", the U.S. Open has always been famed for its toughness and Erin Hills, the longest ever layout for a U.S. Open, was expected to add to that hard-man reputation. He missed almost two months at the start of the year when he was diagnosed with a slight rib fracture, and then the latest break after The Players Championship. He's Canada's best golfer, and he has the weekend at the U.S. Open to reach yet another goal in his surging career.
Davis Love III is out on the course at Erin Hills this week, just not in the role you'd expect.
McIlroy was never in the short grass from the 11th hole to the end on Thursday when he opened with a career-worst 78, and he didn't do almost enough in the second round until it was far too late.
There were as many amateurs who broke par as players in the top 10 in the world - two each.
Fleetwood has made the cut in just one of his seven major appearances to date, but the 26-year-old from Southport made an ideal start with a birdie on his opening hole and added four more in a brilliant putting display. "I've got a nice run leading up to The Open", said McIlroy.
I'm swinging good, everything feels good.
"You don't get many rounds at the US Open that are stress-free", Fowler said.
Fowler finished his round with seven birdies - including three straight at Nos. Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf shot 7-under 63s at Baltusrol Golf Club in 1980. En route to a 68 Thursday, he joined George Burns (1982 at Pebble Beach) and Andy Dillard (1992 at Pebble Beach) as the only players in tournament history to make six consecutive birdies.
Fowler leads US Open on day of highs and lows
Three players - Brian Harman , Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka - were in the clubhouse on five under, two back from Fowler. Day, who won the 2015 PGA Championship up the road at Whistling Straits, had to birdie his last hole Thursday to break 80.
"I'd rather be remembered for something that's done on Sunday", Fowler said. After his lone birdie, another tee shot went into the fescue left of the fairway, and he had to two-putt from 55 feet just to escape with bogey on No. 17. He admitted, "I just played bad golf".
Or Rory McIlroy, who drove the No. 2 green, made eagle and then saw everything go haywire from there in shooting 78.
"I definitely hit the ball a bit better off the tee". Paul Casey, of England, reacts after his birdie on the 11th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Friday, June 16, 2017, at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.
"There are a lot of really good players out here that haven't won a major", Fowler said.
"The greens were still receptive to good shots, but they were firmer and faster", said Fowler.
"All in all, I've got to be happy", Els said. "I showed up for the last six holes at least", joked McIlroy, who was three over par after 12 holes before carding birdies on the fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth. Mickelson attended his daughter's high school graduation in California this morning and had hoped the tournament might go in a weather delay with rain in the forecast.
The U.S. Open is hailed as the most hard tournament in golf.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the pilot at this time", the USGA said in a statement.
Sure, he birdied four of his last six holes to salvage a 71 and finish at 5-over 149.