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Stage set for wide open run at US Open title

Conditions were tougher, and it was a day when a round could get away from a player. McIlroy is 6 over for the tournament, 13 shots back of leaders Rickie Fowler and Paul Casey.Thomas, decked out in fluorescent pink trousers, was on the move quickly with a birdie-birdie start and had an even hotter finish to his front nine, carding birdies on four-of-five closing holes, including the last three to move to seven-under.He added: “It doesn’t matter how good you hit it, if you struggle on the greens, there’s nothing you can do”.The four-way tie was the most after two rounds in a U.S. Open since Winged Foot in 1974, back when the names were more familiar for a major – Raymond Floyd, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Hale Irwin, who went on to win his first major.Fowler finished in the top 5 in all four majors in 2014, and it appeared that would be his springboard to the next level.The last six majors have crowned first-time champions and that trend looks poised to continue at Erin Hills where you have to look way down the leaderboard to 19th before finding a major victor in U.S. Masters champion Sergio Garcia of Spain.”If you look at the golf course and you even talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up ideal for us”, he said.World number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson is among the late starters and will have to improve on Thursday’s three-over effort if he hopes to take his title defence into the weekend.Rory McIlroy hit back at suggestions he was “bored” with golf after missing the cut in the US Open for the second year in succession.Casey, who had shot a six-under-par 66 on Thursday, had threatened to mount an early assault on the leaderboard but came unstuck with a disastrous triple bogey eight on the 14th.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. “So I just need to go home, relax a little bit, hang out with the family and I’ll see you at the Open Championship in a month”. Johnson withdrew from the Masters after injuring his back in a fall and didn’t arrive at Erin Hills until Tuesday because his fiancee gave birth to their second child.Paul Casey discovered how little it takes to make a big number in the U.S. Open.”I felt the most calm I have in a major in a long time this week”, he said. The record for a lowest cut was 1-over 145 at Medinah in 1990.Xander Schauffele briefly grabbed a share of the lead by birdieing the fifth but bogeyed the ninth, as Casey racked up five straight gains around the turn to rejoin the tie at the top.In all, eight of the top 12 players in the world missed the cut, including Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and Adam Scott.Champ, a qualifier from Texas A&M, is leading the 156-player field in average driving distance over the first two rounds at 339 yards, and is tied for eighth on the leaderboard, two shots off the pace at five-under-par after Friday’s three-under 69. Rory McIlroy is a huge fan of the golf course.Casey chopped his way to an 8 on the par-5 14th and shot 38 on the back nine. It’s still Saturday, 36 holes is a very long time in a US Open.