JUSTIN THOMAS LIT up Erin Hills with a record-breaking round on Saturday, charging into sole possession of the U.S. Open lead courtesy of the lowest score to par in the tournament's history. On typical U.S. Open greens, that would have run all the way off the back of the green.
Four years after Justin Rose ended a 43-year wait for an English victor, Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood headed into the third round of the US Open at Erin Hills in a four-way tie for the lead. After all, the U.S. Open has a lengthy history of getting the last laugh and this championship is only at the halfway mark.
Fleetwood was alongside Reed after a birdie on the first, but Casey tumbled down the leaderboard after following an opening birdie of his own with a triple-bogey on the third. The course played to a par of 71 that day, meaning Miller was 8-under.
Another warm, dry day is drying out the course, and the players are noticing a difference.
"Not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an eight on the card, but I'm a pretty happy man", Casey said. "Yeah, it was a bit of a roller coaster".
Brian Harman putts in front of a not-so-who's-who of a leaderboard at the U.S. Open. And having already won the most recent major in Wisconsin - the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits - he felt an unusual sense of calmness. Or that Johnson and McIlory went home Friday after missing the cut?
"I was just trying to have half as good a round as Rickie had", said Casey, who played in the afternoon. 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. Johnson came in with 73, but that was not almost enough, as he finished at 4-over 148 when 145 or better was needed to advance.
In the final round at Oakmont past year, his golf ball moved slightly as he positioned himself for a short putt on the fifth hole.
South Korea's Kim Si-Woo shot a two-under-par 70 to move to five under while 22-year-old amateur Cameron Champ was alongside him after a three-under-par 69.
Koepka had the lead until he turned a birdie chance into a bogey on the par-5 first hole after making the turn.
Jordan Spieth sits just inside the cut-line at even-par through 16 holes, while playing partner and defending US Open champion Dustin Johnson is flirting with a missed cut at three-over.
Casey did his part to set the pace, even after his triple bogey.
"The course has obviously missed the wind scoring-wise, if the wind blows it makes it a much different golf course". "Even just trying to take my medicine was very, very hard. It's a good 8 in the end".
As for Day, he entered this week with a stellar track record at the U.S. Open - five top-10 finishes in six career starts. Even as the course slowly recovered from rain early in the week, reasonable scores were available.
He then bogeyed the 15th hole, hitting it short of the green in two and failing to get up and down.
Not bad for a guy who made the cut on the number. It was 1 over at Medinah in 1990. Alas, due to his struggles on Thursday when he shot 78, McIlroy finished at 5 over and suffered the same fate as Day. And the three top players in the world did miss the cut, something that's never happened at a major since world rankings came into place in 1986. Day had no answers.
"I've been very light on competitive rounds", McIlroy said. "And just unfortunately, this didn't pan out".