Needing a round of 68 to have a fighting chance of being around for the weekend, McIlroy was far more accurate from the tee yesterday, hitting 11 of 14 fairways compared to just five on Thursday.
Just don't mention that to some of the best players in the world.
Starting the day in a respectable position of even-par, Adam Scott sealed his exit with a disappointing 75.
Eight of the top 12 players in the world won't be around for the weekend at Erin Hills, leaving a tournament as open as the land on which it was built.
The U.S. Open was only his sixth start this year.
McIlroy, who hit just five fairways to tie for last in the 156-man field in that category, said: "I don't think I hit a fairway from the 10th and you can not play this golf course if you are not in position off the tee". He could very easily go backwards today given how rusty he's largely been this year but if his terrific short game's on he's definitely capable of winning a major and I thought he was a decent price at [30.0].
Defending champion Dustin Johnson probably didn't feel so badly by the end of a most peculiar day.
Casey has recorded three consecutive top-six finishes in the Masters, but has just one top-10 in the US Open in 13 attempts, which came a decade ago at Oakmont.
"It will be just fine", said Fowler, who'll play with Jamie Lovemark in the third from last group on Saturday.
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Rickie Fowler was playing so cleanly at Erin Hills that the record appeared to be in jeopardy.
The four-way tie was the most after two rounds in a U.S. Open since Winged Foot in 1974, back when the names were more familiar for a major - Raymond Floyd, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Hale Irwin, who went on to win his first major.
Fowler's seven birdies were from no more than 12 feet, including three in a row around the turn.
A rib injury restricted McIlroy to just six tournaments before the US Open, but he plans to play in next week's Travelers Championship and then the Irish Open, Scottish Open and Open Championship in successive weeks in July. "But I'd rather be remembered for something that's done on Sunday".
"It's not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an eight on the card, but I'm a pretty happy man". Fowler is at No. 9 in the world ranking.
On a crowded leaderboard, American amateur Cameron Champ - who turned 22 on Thursday - and Xander Schauffele were unlikely contenders on five under par alongside Matsuyama, Players Championship victor Si Woo Kim and Brandt Snedeker.
For players like Jordan Spieth (73) and Johnson, it was a matter of not making enough putts.
Casey made a snowman - a triple-bogey 8 on the par-5 14th - and still broke par with a 71.
"I just did a good job". "The scoring was so good this morning".
Mickelson had been holding out hope that with the potential of storms over Wisconsin, there might be a four-hour delay that would allow him to watch his daughter graduate and zoom across the country in his private jet.
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