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Rickie Fowler leads US Open on day of highs and lows

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Paul Casey battles back into contention at US Open but Rory Mc Ilroy misses cut

As a result, Fowler tied the U.S. Open record for the lowest first-round score in relation to par and there was as a sea of red on the leaderboard.

Rickie Fowler was all smiles after a flawless seven-under 65 on Thursday. He still had his worst score in a U.S. Open. You've got 156 of the best players in the world here. He hit 12 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens and required just 1.5 putts per green, all while exhibiting the steely poise of a fighter pilot, albeit a fighter pilot in modish French blue slacks.

"It was nice. You don't get many rounds at the US Open that are stress-free".

That the USGA's setup czars laid down their arms Thursday was unsurprising. "He just kind of dissected the golf course". "But I think definitely getting a lot speedier, a lot faster".

Coverage of the second round at Erin Hills at 8 a.m. ET on the Golf Channel, with live coverage of the 2017 U.S. Open's second round starting at 11 a.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Ernie Els opened with a 70 on the 20th anniversary of his last US Open victory.

Fowler wasn't the only player to go super-low.

Fowler enters Friday's second round with a one-shot lead over Paul Casey and Tommy Schauffele. All seven of his birdies came from inside 15 feet. Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson and Jon Rahm were, too. The tempestuous Spaniard was a trendy pick to win this week, but the ebbs and flows of Erin Hills gave him fits.

After comfortably reaching the green in one, McIlroy rolled in a brilliant 27-foot putt for an eagle two. "Hey, we gotta get to the tee!" he barked. Billy Horschel needed all of one hole to dash his title hopes, making a quad at the par-5 opener.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson made only one birdie in his round of 75.

Rory McIlroy sprayed the ball all over the place.

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Rory McIlroy joked earlier in the week that anyone who couldn't hit such wide fairways "might as well pack your bags and go home".

"You can not play this golf course if you're not in position off the tee, and I wasn't in position", he said.

"I was teeing off and I looked up and saw it on fire, and I felt sick to my stomach", golfer Jamie Lovemark said. I got the shakes. I didn't know it was the blimp. "It was a awful sight". Koepka used his length to manhandle the course while Harman hit driver 13 times to keep up with the big boys as he tries to become the first left-hander to win the U.S. Open.

"If I were a spectator, I'd get myself a few cold ones, set up behind the ninth green and just watch guys make fives and sixes because that's what you're going to see there", the 2010 U.S. Open champ said before play got under way.

On the 17th hole, Dru tugged his tee shot into some matted-down fescue left of the fairway.

Dru Love faced a downwind shot of almost 190 yards from the rough. "If he hadn't been there to tell me to hit pitching wedge, I would have soared it into the grandstand", Dru said.

Not even the sight of a burning blimp crashing to the ground in an open field just a half-mile (800 meters) from the course could distract the world number nine, who failed to make the cut his previous two U.S. Opens but finished runner-up in 2014.

But the Englishman now has a share of the lead at the U.S. Open.

Fowler has never won a major.

"It's cool to be part of some sort of history in golf", he said.

"I'm ready to be up there (in the final round on Sunday)", Fowler said.

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