Birdies lift Paul Casey after rough patch at US Open

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Erin Hills again lacked enough wind to be the stern test the U.S. Open wants, and it showed.

The player who turned the U.S. Open into a soap opera of sorts the previous two years won't be around for the weekend this time.

Brooks Koepka, Brian Harman, Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey were all at 7-under par through Friday's second round.

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.

Fowler tees off his second round in the afternoon.

The World No.14 ranked Casey went into day two sharing second but slumped under the weight of dropping five strokes in a four-hole run from his third hole, and included in that stretch was the triple on his fifth hole.

The 30-year-old Harman has five top-10 finishes and two victories since joining the tour in 2012, most recently at the Wells Fargo Championship in May.

"Someone has a very good chance of ending up with their first major tomorrow", Fowler said. And he kept right on going early in the third round, rolling in a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 fourth hole to reach 11-under par. McIlroy played in the same group with Day, who had a 7-over 79 on Thursday and followed with a 75 to finish at 10 over.

Holywood's McIlroy finished four under for the final six holes, which helped the four-time major victor post a one-under-par 71 in Wisconsin, but the damage was done in the first round as McIlroy hit six over to effectively end his chances at the second major of the year.

With the entire field separated by just eight shots after the cut fell at one over, 2015 victor Jordan Spieth had hoped to get himself into contention, but struggled to a 76.

"I was in the hay too much over the last couple of days", Day said.

Super save (for bogey) keeps Fleetwood smiling at US Open
Was Thomas' round as exacting as the first 63 shot in a major, Johnny Miller's final-round masterpiece at the 1973 U.S. But there's a couple today where I kind of puffed them out there and I'm back there a couple extra clubs.

"I put it in the wrong places", he said.

"With where I was hitting it", he said with a smile, "I wasn't in the way".

Said Johnson, who was 3 over: "I really like this golf course, it sets up well for me". But he also struggled around the greens, failing to get up and down once in six opportunities. McIlroy shot 71 and finished at 5 over after 36 holes despite shooting 4 under on his final six holes.

Similar scoring had initially appeared a possibility at Erin Hills, which became the longest course in major championship history at 7,845 yards in the first round and featured such thick fescue grass that patches had to be chopped down on four holes on Tuesday.

Talking about his stellar play Saturday at Erin Hills, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native cracked, "My motivation was the Cedar Rapids Gazette, because they came up here when I was teeing it up Saturday". If you get four or five, that's pretty good.

In the first round, McIlroy only hit five fairways en route to a 78.

"I could not have hit that three-wood to the last (from 299 yards) any better if I tried, just a little high cut and I was very fortunate for the overnight rain for the ball to stay there".

Starting the day in a respectable position of even-par, Adam Scott sealed his exit with a disappointing 75.

"I know if I go out and play the golf I'm capable of, good things should happen".

The U.S. Open is wide open going into the weekend. When you're trying to aim at a target usually at a normal golf course, with normal width fairways, there's some pressure in hitting the fairway.

"I hardly missed a shot today", he continued. "The execution was not there".

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