Friday, 23 June, 2017

Four Sit Atop a Crowded Leaderboard at US Open

Paul Casey battles back into contention at US Open but Rory Mc Ilroy misses cut Paul Casey battles back into contention at US Open but Rory Mc Ilroy misses cut
Ben Pena | 18 June, 2017, 13:46

"Not your typical U.S. Open setup, but I'm a big fan", McIlroy said.

What we didn't know is that this Open would separate so many men from the tournament.

Brian Harman is rolling. He's never had a top 25 in a major, and hadn't even played in one since the 2015 PGA Championship until this week. There never have been nine straight Opens without a playoff. "It was a really good round of golf and I hardly missed a shot". "I'm not sure when it's going to sink in. But I'm just excited to give myself a great chance to win this golf tournament". Tomorrow's going to be fun.

Another warm, dry day is drying out the course, and the players are noticing a difference.

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.

And it is another milestone in a remarkable start to 2017 for Thomas.

The 39-year-old was only able to move his fourth shot a matter of inches in heavy rough over the back of the green on the par five, before hacking out sideways and taking three putts from just off the green.

The American Ryder Cup star then bagged a trio of birdies on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes to finish at eight under.

"It doesn't affect the game plan one bit, and it doesn't really affect the mindset", he said.

"Being out of position off the tee does not help", he said.

"It's similar-type stuff - low round and history stuff, " Thomas said. As I've gotten older, I've gotten a little farther, but a lot more straighter. "I'm like, 'Let's get to 8, let's get to 9, ' whatever it is".

European Union says divorce bill, citizens' rights focus of Brexit talks
Tilford said that if May sticks to her uncompromising approach, the European Union will have "no option but to respond in kind". The prospect of Brexit has sent a wave of concern through Britain's business sector.

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

Rory McIlroy at least had the satisfaction of four birdies in his last six holes to improve by seven shots on his opening 78, while Jason Day's 75 left him 10 over and world number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson finished four over.

McIlroy, the No. 2 player in the world, also arrived last Friday having missed the last month to rest a nagging rib injury. The cut was at 1-over 145, tying a U.S. Open record set in 1990 at Medinah.

Former US Open winners Jordan Spieth and Martin Kaymer are having shocker Saturdays, with 2015 champion Spieth carding a 76 and 2014 victor Kaymer five-over on his round and two-over for the tournament. "Whether it's 20-under or 20-over, as long as [USGA officials] want a good tournament and an action-packed leaderboard".

Thomas finished in style, and it had nothing to do with his hot pink trousers. 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. And he missed an eminently makeable eagle putt after driving the green on the par-four 15th.

There is a palpable excitement around the grounds at Erin Hills due to the packed leaderboard that portends a thrilling weekend and the fact that the course has shown well-challenging yet fair.

Rickie Fowler has some company on top of the U.S. Open leaderboard.

The thrilling finish vaulted Thomas into the clubhouse lead on 11 under par late in the third round but with numerous contenders still out on the course and threatening to catch him.

It sounds as if Erin Hills is becoming more challenging with each passing minute.

Another U.S. Open first for Xander Schauffele.

The trio's struggles were all the more surprising given that low scores were there to be had for all.

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