Sport

US Open filled with limitless possibilities, few stars

Dustin Johnson of the United States walks across the 18th hole during the second round of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills on June 16, 2017 in Hartford, Wisconsin.

McIlroy expressed fondness for Erin Hills despite heading home early.

Hoffman has opened his third round at Erin Hills with two birdies to move into a four-way tie for second at 6 under.

ERIN, Wis. (AP) - The U.S. Open is wide open going into the weekend.

This might have been more than anyone was expecting.

England's Paul Casey and compatriot Tommy Fleetwood were bunched on seven under alongside Americans Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman at the top. No penalty was assessed, but after officials saw the video, they thought one might be called for. He picked up one shot on his first nine after an opening-round 79 but a double bogey on the fifth and a second-round 75 have him 10-over for the tournament. Lots of talent, just looking for that one break-out moment.

However, while the world's top three are making other plans for the weekend after missing the cut, college amateur Cameron Champ is proving that massive tee shots can still help get the job done on the long, links-style layout. Jon Rahm. Justin Rose.

He started on the back nine and was four over par after six holes thanks in large part to a triple-bogey eight on No. 14.

Matsuyama was a wizard on the front nine with six birdies. They were joined by Harman and Fleetwood, who each had a 70. He hammered a chip from just short of the par-5 14th that led to another three-putt bogey. Fowler shot a 73 and was still very much in the hunt at a second straight major.

The most wide-open US Open in years headed into the third round on Saturday with a cluster of inexperienced major contenders aiming to break free at the top of the leaderboard. Only a half-dozen of them have even experienced Sunday contention in golf's biggest events.

"Tomorrow will be a very cool experience", Fleetwood said.

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After tying for 45th at the Memorial last month, Matsuyama arrived at Erin Hills on a downturn in a topsy-turvy season.

Westwood had bogeyed the third and fifth before a superb tee shot on the 239-yard sixth - which played as the most hard hole on Thursday - set up a birdie from 18 feet.

Despite some uncharacteristically low scoring for U.S. Open standards, Koepka reminded everyone that players still had their difficulties.

He three-putted on No. 13. 1, 2 and 3 all missed the cut in a major. I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did.

Rickie Fowler, the 18-hole leader, made an 8-foot birdie on No. 2 and was just getting going. He's Canada's best golfer, and he has the weekend at the U.S. Open to reach yet another goal in his surging career.

Day, who also felt like he prepared well, has played a little more than McIlroy but not all that great so far in 2017. McIlroy shot 78-71 (with birdies at four of his last six holes) to miss it by four.

Fowler lost most of his ground over the final two hours.

Leishman is now sharing eighth place, only three shots back of co-leaders Rickie Fowler and England's Paul Casey at seven-under.

"We're in a good spot".

He finished 27th two years ago and earned a big $64,000 pay day. McIlroy could only take some optimism away from his finish.

"It's pretty frustrating when I got here [last] Friday, put a lot of work in, looked at the golf course, made sure that I could actually play and visualize the golf course, " he said. "Yeah, it was a bit of a roller coaster". I guess it's [rare] you get through a U.S. Open or any major without some kind of hiccup.



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