Call it the US Wide Open

Tuesday, 20 Jun, 2017

Then he exited stage left, stopped to sign a couple golf balls for the patrolmen who followed him for the second round, and checked his cell phone as he walked up the hill and toward the locker room for the last time this week. "It's still Saturday - 36 holes is a very long time in a U.S. Open".

Don't be alarmed to see a few names atop the leaderboard at the U.S. Open that are familiar only to hard-core golf fans. Many were headed to the airport.

Both players - ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the world, respectively - put themselves in poor position with bloated opening-round scores: Day a 7-over 79 and McIlroy a 78.

Other notable players failing to make the cut included British Open champion Henrik Stenson (147), former Masters winners Charl Schwartzel (147) of South Africa and Australian Adam Scott (147) and double Masters victor Bubba Watson (148). Harman was at 12-under 204 and still only had a one-shot lead, with Rickie Fowler two shots behind.

Casey nearly watched his U.S. Open hopes sink with a triple-bogey eight on the par-five 14th hole, and a bogey on the next that dropped him to two under for the tournament.

Koepka is flashing exactly the game we thought McIlroy, Johnson and Day would display here at this 117th U.S. Open.

Johnny Miller owned the previous best round of eight-under 63 set at the 1973 US Open at Oakmont. "So it's pretty simple, I just didn't get it in the hole fast enough".

Neither did McIroy and Day, though all three made their share of trips into the club-grabbing fescue as well. That should have affected everyone the same way, but it was particularly troublesome for the field's elite players.

McIlroy meanwhile - who earlier in the week had advised players unable to hit the fairways to "pack their bags" - was left at five over par after a second-round 71. He has dropped to 70th in the World Golf Rankings after being 10th at the end of the 2015 season. Spieth had to scramble all day to slip under the cut line by one shot.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson (+4), Rory McIlroy (+5) and Jason Day (+10) will all miss the weekend after their struggles.

Day at least managed to find one positive spin.

It was McIlroy's first tournament since taking time off to tend to a recurring rib injury. They said no, the results said otherwise.

He finished at 12-under 272, the first player to complete a U.S. Open double digits under par. He's also splitting those famously wide fairways (25 of 28). Yet, some of the biggest bombers in the game flamed out.

"I made two bad swings on the front nine", Koepka said.

Jason Day, of Australia, hits from a bunker 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.

Casey discovered how little it takes to make a big number in the U.S. Open - and at this U.S. Open, how a recovery is never too far away.

Not that anyone is complaining about the course. Day, however, said he felt ready to go before flaming out early.

"Struck it well, hit a bunch of greens, and that's what you've got to do to play well around here".

And on the leaderboard.

Chez Reavie matched Matsuyama's 65 in round two to lead a group at four under.

The merchandise tent offered something for everyone - shirts, hats, golf towels, and even rare, exclusive items created just for the tournament.

Rain is expected Saturday, which should make the greens easy to stick and putt. The leaderboard is shaping up quite nicely. "It's coming a little harder, it seems like, on a regular basis but I still feel like I do a lot of good things to compete out there".

Just don't mention that to some of the best players in the world.