US Open: Defending champion Dustin Johnson makes early exit

Ebony Scott
June 18, 2017

Rory Mcilroy, of Ireland, and Jason Day, of Australia, walk on the eighth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday, June 15, 2017, at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis. He made the turn at 6-under 30, just one off the U.S. Open record of 29 for nine holes. He birdied four of his last six holes - he missed two birdie putts of 10 feet and two-putted for birdie on the par-5 seventh - to rally for a 71. He set the target early under warm sunshine, and even as the wind tapered in the afternoon, no one could catch him.

None of the leaders had as shaky a stretch as Casey, who made 8 on the par-5 14th hole - after hitting into the fescue and almost whiffing on his swing to get out - and bogeyed the next hole. It's hard to make a lot of birdies for me around here.

Casey is not the only Englishman atop the leaderboard as he is joined by Tommy Fleetwood, who had an excellent round of 70, and is a group of four all at the top of the leaderboard going into round 3.

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.

Newly branded as the "ultimate test in golf", the U.S. Open has always been famed for its toughness and Erin Hills was expected to add to that hard-man reputation.

The 24-year-old Thomas eagled the par-5 18th for just the fifth 63 in U.S. Open history.

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The opening round was without Phil Mickelson for the first time since 1993. Fleetwood was poised to take the lead until his pitch to the 18th wasn't strong enough and his next shot went beyond the flag and down the slope some 70 feet away.

Day, however, said he felt ready to go before flaming out early.

It appears that streak is going to continue this weekend barring a massive comeback effort Sunday after his frustrating trip around Erin Hills in Round 3. There have been no reports yet of anyone getting sick.

Reavie had five birdies in a six-hole stretch beginning on No. 11. That's not to say big names and quality players aren't in the mix here in Wisconsin. The cut for the top 60 and ties was at 1-over 145, tying a U.S. Open record set in 1990 at Medinah. But then he three-putted from long range on the 13th and the 14th, and lost all hope when he missed the green on the 17th while going after the flag. Some of the world's top-ranked players and pre-tournament favourites look poised to miss the cut.

"I lost a bit of skin out there", Casey said of the triple bogey. But he also struggled around the greens, failing to get up and down once in six opportunities. "Part of that is just age and part I'll give credit to Johnny McLaren (his caddie), credit to my wife and my little boy".

And the former Ryder Cup player then made it five birdies in succession - just one short of the US Open record equalled by Adam Hadwin on Thursday - by picking up shots on the first, second and third. McIlroy came to life when it was far too late.

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