For the first time since the Official World Golf Rankings started in the year 1986, the world’s top three are left behind in the race for the U.S Open Championship. World No.1 Dustin Johnson and second-ranked Rory McIlroy joined world No.3 Jason Day in missing the cut after the second round at Erin Hills, Wisconsin, making way for the English duo Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood to take the lead.
There is now a four-way tie for the lead after two rounds of the US Open. Overnight leader Rickie Fowler relinquished the lead during the second round. The 28-year-old started day two with a one-shot cushion but a one-over-par 73 opened the door for a four-way tie for the lead at seven-under shared by Paul Casey (71), Brian Harman, Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka (all 70).
Casey posted a one-under 71 to move to seven under, while Fleetwood and Americans Brian Harman and Brooks Koepka signed for 70s at Erin Hills.
Fowler fell to a share of fifth at six under, alongside compatriots Jamie Lovemark and JB Holmes (both 69). Marc Leishman carded an even par 72 second round to be a further shot back, three shots off the lead, but he’ll be the only Australian playing this weekend. Adam Scott (75), Wade Ormsby (75) and Nick Flanagan (79) all joined Day in missing the cut.
Here’s how the top 8 on the leaderboard played during the second round:
T1. Paul Casey (-7): Casey turned in a clean front nine to finish the day. But the back nine, much like the rest of the field on Friday, was not kind to him. After three birdies on the back, he still finished +2 on the back after two bogeys and a triple. He rebounded nicely with only one bogey and five birdies on No. 14.
T1. Brooks Koepka (-7): Koepka entered Day 2 in the mix and came away tied for the lead, thanks to an incredible bogey-free back nine in which he carded a 32. He has never won a major before but is looking poised to do just that this weekend.
T1. Brian Harman (-7): Like Koepka, Harman wasn’t flashy today, he shot just 2-under par, but remains in the mix after turning in a respectable 70. He lapped the field on the back nine with his 4-under 32.
T1. Tommy Fleetwood (-7): Fleetwood kicked off the day with a bogey on 1 but bounced back beautifully by finishing 3-under for the rest of the day including a birdie on the 676-yard 18th hole. He’s got the strength and skill to compete in the weekend.
T5. Rickie Fowler (-6): If not for a brutal three-hole stretch on the back nine in which he went 3 bogeys, Fowler would be headed to the weekend with the outright lead. He finished 1-over on the day and has plenty of competition to regain his spot atop the leaderboard.
T5. J.B. Holmes (-6): For every bogey on the day, Holmes had an answer with a birdie on the subsequent hole. He finished the day 3-under and takes matching 69s into the weekend. If he can go 69-69-69-69, that could be nice enough to win the whole thing.
T5. Jamie Lovemark (-6): Speaking of matching 69s, Lovemark joined Holmes with those scores. He went in at 32 on the back nine but came out in 37 with three bogeys on the front.
T8. Hideki Matsuyama, Si Woo Kim, Xander Schauffele, Brandt Snedeker: Matsuyama posted a 65 on Friday, the third round of 7-under already at Erin Hills. He went out of Round 2 with a 30, going six under on the front nine during a bogey-free round. Schauffele was unable to match his 66 from Thursday, but a respectable 73 with a double bogey keeps him in contention.