How Paul Casey survived a classic US Open debacle

With the the top-three players in the world missing the cut – Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day – more big names are starting to crumble.Casey’s five birdies were one short of the U.S. Open record last matched the day before by Adam Hadwin.The leaders are Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka, Brian Harman and Tommy Fleetwood.Casey was the only golfer who went in the morning.That gave Oosthuizen a record total of 132 for the middle two rounds and after bogeys at the second, third and fourth in the final round looked to have ended his chances, he carded six birdies in the last seven holes for a record-equalling back nine of 29 and outright record of 199 for the last 54 holes.”We’re in a good spot”, Fowler said, referring to his status in the first-person plural after shooting 1-over 73. “But I’m a pretty happy man”. “Even just trying to take my medicine was very, very hard”. Five players were two shots off the lead.Few have had a more stomach-churning ride at a major as Casey, playing the Erin Hills back nine first, opened his round with a birdie at the 11th before plunging down the leaderboard with a triple-bogey at 14 and a bogey 15, then rocketing back into contention with five consecutive birdies.”Hit a lot of good shots”.While the former took a share of the haflway lead with a 71 which owed so much to heart and perseverance, the latter submitted to the cut in a performance which is beginning to sum up his miserable season. “There were a couple of dicey pin placements out there that you had to be careful about, but it was still scoreable”.Hideki Matsuyama had quite a day at Erin Hills. “We were working to get that unique flavor combination”.That’s not to say a worthy champion won’t be crowned on Sunday – but there’s plenty of work left to do for golf’s upper echelon of players, many of whom missed the cut on Friday.”With where I was hitting it”, he said with a smile, “I wasn’t in the way”. “Pitchers have good days and bad days, and I took an L (loss) today and come back tomorrow and try to finish this round strong going into next week”.”If you look at the golf course and talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up flawless for us”, world No.1 Johnson said. Johnson (+4) can’t be too upset to be travelling home to California to see his newborn baby.”I’m playing the weekend”, Fowler said.Olympic champion Justin Rose is another who will be heading home early after carding a two-over 74.There is something about new U.S. Open venues that brings out the best in Jamie Lovemark.”I was upset with the score I had made, but it had, in no way, any effect on my attitude or how I was going to then approach the rest of the round or the next shot”.He had struggled through a nagging rib injury that has limited him to six tournaments this year, but was buoyed by his second round at Erin Hills after complaining about feeling rusty after his substandard opening 18 holes.When I asked Day earlier in the week about that mindset, he confidently agreed.Casey, the 39-year-old Englishman who’s never won a major in 52 career starts entering this week, said his strategy has been to remain in striking distance of the lead over the weekend – a mission he accomplished Friday.The last six major winners combined to go 26-over, as Sergio Garcia was the only player to finish under par or make the cut if you count Danny Willett’s 9-over first round before withdrawing ahead of his second.”I knew I was out of it”, Day said. “The best part is I get to talk about something I love”. But he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie chances in that stretch, and one of the birdies he made was a two-putt from 20 feet on the par-5 seventh.