With little wind, no rain, and greens that Fox Sports analyst Paul Azinger called the best he's ever seen, the world's best golfers tore up the course leading to the lowest cut line in U.S. Open history at +1.
Just like that, Casey is 4 over for the day and now five shots out of the lead.
"I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did", Johnson said.
The 23-year-old Texas native expressed optimism about his chances after making the cut because the notoriously tough U.S. Open setups usually keep the leaders within striking distance, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. McIlroy shot 71 and finished at 5 over after 36 holes despite shooting 4 under on his final six holes.
"I was sticking to the same game plan, I was doing the same things", Hadwin said. "But as we all know - this game is all about putting. Part of that is just age, and part I'll give credit to caddy Johnny McLaren, credit to my wife and my little boy".
"I'm not sure when it's going to sink in or when I'm going to realise what I did", he told a news conference. But I don't let it bother me. You just felt like you were letting everybody down when you're not playing well, but I've gotten better with that. Every time I've been in majors so far I've put so much emphasis on them and tried so hard at them that I kind of got in my way.
"I've never led a U.S. Open, so tomorrow will be a very cool experience". He won't play again until The Open at Royal Birkdale next month.
Three others in the top 10, No.6 Henrik Stenson, No.8 Alex Noren and No.10 Jon Rahm also missed the cut.
Major champions Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker, Charl Schwartzel and Jason Dufner also missed. Fellow-countryman Graeme McDowell follows him out of the tournament, joined by the likes of Jason Dufner, Jason Day and Danny Willett - who withdrew due to the recurrence of a back injury. He opened Thursday with a 9-over 81. He went from pouring putts into the center of the cup to burning the edges, and his 39 on the back nine cost him the lead, though not his chances of breaking through for that first major.
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Hideki Matsuyama had quite a day at Erin Hills.
Day admitted the course lay-out had played on his mind in both his rounds.
"I'm a big fan", McIlroy said. More important, he was happy with how he played Friday and remained optimistic that he could carry that over to the weekend.
The Englishman won the Masters a year ago for his only PGA Tour victory.
"I think at the end of the day, it's competitive rounds and get the card in my hand", McIlroy said. He's playing the Travelers Championship next week, then after a week off, heads to the Irish Open, the Scottish Open and The Open in consecutive weeks. But he missed his first cut at a major since the 2012 PGA Championship.
"I usually love places like this". "I enjoyed the walk, the golf course is attractive but I just didn't execute".
World number two McIlroy will have the weekend free after the Northern Irishman added a 71 to his first-round 78 for a 5-over total of 149.
The bogey save on 18 certainly changed his day.