Saturday, June 17, 2017

Casey, Fleetwood in four-way tie for

halfway lead in US Open

Four players - two of them Englishmen (Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood) - share a one-stroke lead at seven under par at the halfway stage of the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills, Wisconsin.
Casey did well to recovered from a triple bogey at the 14th, but it cost him the outright lead.
The two Americans who are co-leaders at Brooks Koepka and left-hander Brian Harman.
Big names who missed the cut  (145 and better advanced) included Justin Rose (146),  Henrik Stenson (147), Rory McIlroy (149) and Jason Day (154).
Scots now on the sidelines are Aberdonian Richie Ramsay (146), Inverness-born Russell Knox (149). Glasgow's Martin Laird (143) is still hanging on in there
. Click here for more from Erin Hills.


Of the four co-leaders entering the weekend at Erin Hills, only one has prior experience in leading after any round of a major.
Paul Casey has done it twice – he was the co-leader after the first round of the 2004 Open Championship and the first round of the 2010 U.S. Open. Given that the last time was seven years ago and that neither opportunity proved particularly fruitful, it’s doubtful there will be much spillover effect.
But hey, every little bit helps.
“There will probably be more nerves, more excitement,” said Casey, who will play with Brian Harman in the final twosome. “There is a lot of golf to be played here. … You’ve got to be very patient and stay in the moment. I know it’s cliché, but the last thing you need to be doing is thinking ahead, especially on this golf course.”
The other three hope to take the same approach.
Koepka, in fact, said he doesn’t care where he stands on the leaderboard. “It’s not Sunday afternoon yet,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter. You’re not going to win it today. Just keep plugging along and try to do the best you can.”
Fleetwood will be Koepka’s playing partner in the next-to-last twosome.
“Tomorrow will be a very cool experience,” the Englishman said. “It’s still Saturday; 36 holes is a very long time in a U.S. Open. Anything can happen.”
As for Harman – well, history is not on his side. No left-hander has ever won the U.S. Open. On the flip side, maybe the southpaws are due.
“I have no expectations,” he said. “I have no idea how the weekend is going to go, no one does. For me, if I can just stay where I am, just keep doing what I'm doing, I'll have a chance.”


Rickie Fowler struggled on his back nine Friday but still finds himself within one shot of the lead. Fowler’s 1-over 73 included a back-nine 39 after he made three consecutive bogeys on Nos. 11-13. He missed the fairway on the 11th hole, then three-putted the next two holes.
He was the first-round leader after shooting 65, and raced out with a 2-under 34 on his front nine Friday to take the lead.
Fowler hasn’t finished in the top 10 at a major since 2014, the season he finished in the top five in all four Grand Slam events. Although he didn’t separate himself from the pack Friday, he’s still in great shape.
“I'm playing the weekend,” Fowler said. “I have a tee time on Saturday, so it just kind of you learn along the way to never really give up. You never know what one shot's going to count for.” – Sean Martin


Hideki Matsuyama and Chez Reavie both matched the low score of the tournament, 7-under 65, and had the opportunity to go even lower.
Matsuyama fired 6-under 30 on the front nine, while Reavie was 7 under after 11 holes. The low rounds – Rickie Fowler shot 65 on Thursday -- allowed each player to leap from outside the cut line to within contention. Matsuyama is T8 at 5-under 139 (74-65), while Reavie is another stroke back after opening with a 75. Both players attributed better putting to their large improvement over Thursday’s scores.
“Yesterday I hit the ball really well, also, but I three-putted,” Reavie said. “I knew I could shoot a few under par and make the cut. You don't think you're going to shoot 7-under par at the U.S. Open.”
Reavie ranks 66th in the FedExCup after finishing fourth in last week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic. Matsuyama, who ranks third in the FedExCup, is seeking his first top-10 since his win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He did finish T11 at the season’s first major, the Masters, in that span.
The biggest difference was I putted very well today,” Matsuyama said. “Shooting a good score today gave me a lot of confidence. I really haven't been hitting the ball well as of late. To shoot a good round like today, I'm certainly looking forward to the weekend.”



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