Zach Johnson making an early move at Erin Hills


What would winning the U.S. Open do for him?

That's not to say a worthy champion won't be crowned Sunday - but there's plenty of work left to do for golf's upper echelon of players, many of whom missed the cut Friday.

Washington County Sheriff Dale Schmidt told the United States Golf Association he appeared to die of natural causes. Thomas is tied for second with Tommy Fleetwood (68) and Brooks Koepka (68).

Matsuyama, a 25-year-old, four-time PGA Tour victor from Japan, had a putt for birdie on the par-5 18th hole, which would have been only the second 8-under round in U.S. Open history, matching Johnny Miller's 63 at par-71 Oakmont in 1973. "If they would have had 26-, 27-yard wide fairways it would be one of the toughest courses they've ever played". And at this U.S. Open, he showed how a quick recovery is never too far away. There never have been nine straight Opens without a playoff.

A commercial blimp crashed to the ground and caught fire just outside the course Thursday, about the time the county health department was analyzing samples that confirmed evidence of the E. coli bacteria in water at a hydration station near the 12th hole. When I was younger it went everywhere.

Day, at 10 over, said, "I mean, the scores were out there". Tomorrow's going to be fun.

After weeks of pouring his heart and soul into qualifying for the first U.S. Open played in Wisconsin, Madison's Steve Stricker was right where he wanted to be after the tournament's second round.

And it is another milestone in a remarkable start to 2017 for Thomas. The Japanese star birdied six of his first eight holes Friday, finishing round two at five under for the tournament. The experience of building on an opening-round 59 will help, he said.

"I obviously needed to nuke it", Thomas said of his 3-wood, which he later called his best of the round.

"I got a massive break", he said. "But I'm looking forward to getting the job done".

At Erin Hills, all Johnson could do was go down swinging on a Friday.

Thomas poured that in to become the 29th player with a 63 in a major championship.

Matsuyama will be the top-ranked player at Erin Hills over the next two days after Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day all failed to make the cut.

"As long as it's a good tournament, it's good for the U.S. Open, " Thomas said.

England's Casey had an action-packed second round.

If his hot pink trousers were not enough, Thomas finished in style. But he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie chances in that stretch, and one of the birdies he made was a two-putt from 20 feet on the par-5 seventh.

He then hacked out his fifth out sideways and now some 52-feet from the hole from where he chipped and two putted. If I can make four birdies around here, that would be pretty good.

A rain-softened course was protected by some fearsome pin positions as the third round of the US Open got under way at Erin Hills on Saturday.

"If you're not hitting it well, it's still hard to hit it under par, " Thomas said. "So you can't really compare Erin Hills to the setup at Oakmont". It's still a U.S. Open.

There were a lot of low scores Saturday.