Justin Thomas powers into US Open contention with thrilling round

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Dustin Johnson vowed to work hard on his putting and expressed his disappointment that his defence of the US Open title ended with a missed cut. That's two Brits and two Americans, and no one you'd recognize if you saw them in the Tally Ho Pub & Grill a mile from Erin Hills.

His inward nine began with a further bogey on the long par-five first, which was followed by another bogey on the second which left him at eight over. Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka lurked at 7 under.

The talented Englishman shot a second round of 71 to leave him on seven under for the competition.

The greens, predictably, had become quicker in the scorching sun and the pins, even more predictably, were not as generously set.

It marked the first time since the world rankings were created in 1986 that the top three ranked players in the world missed the cut at a US Open. It was 1 over at Medinah in 1990.

Only eight shots separate the leaders from the players who made the cut on the number.

The world number two, who earlier in the week suggested players unable to find the fairways should "pack their bags", is now contemplating an early exit following a second-round 71.

Tommy Fleetwood was relaxed about sharing the lead at the halfway stage of the US Open as the absence of some of golf's biggest names set up an intriguing weekend at Erin Hills.

"Showed up for the last six holes, anyway", said the four-times major victor, who made four birdies on his second nine, including his finishing hole, the par-three ninth.

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"I was in the hay too much over the last couple of days", Day told reporters about the knee-high fescue grass lining the fairways at the links-style layout in the Wisconsin countryside. "Yeah, it was a bit of a roller coaster. I'm just excited to get a few rounds and start playing again".

Jason Day, the world number three, will also have the weekend off after a 75 left the Australian at 10 over through two rounds. When it was clear he had nothing going in the second round, he was simply trying to stay out of the way. McIlroy was 4 shots off the cut line and Day a whopping 9 shots removed.

McIlroy was never in the short grass from the 11th hole to the end on Thursday when he opened with a career-worst 78, and he didn't do almost enough in the second round until it was far too late.

He then bogied the 15 hole, hitting it short of the green in two and failing to get the up and down. That still didn't appear to be almost enough.

"Show up for the last six holes, anyway", McIlroy said.

South Korea's Kim Si-Woo and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama were among five players on five under, which also included amateur Cameron Champ.

Erin Hills fought back on Friday and the world's top three players won't be around for the weekend at the U.S. Open.

His 13-foot putt for birdie at the par-5 seventh moved him to 3 under for the day and 4 under for the tournament. "But I think definitely getting a lot speedier, a lot faster".

"We're in a good spot", Fowler said, referring to his status in the first-person plural after shooting 1-over 73.

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