US Open filled with limitless possibilities, few stars

Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka, Brian Harman and Tommy Fleetwood share the 36-hole lead at Erin Hills.Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day all failed to make the cut at the U.S. Open on Friday, the first time that the top three players in the world failed to qualify for weekend play at the championship since the rankings were created in 1986. Only Rory McIlroy, on his way to victory at Congressional in 2011, has managed a lower score to par through 54 holes than Harman’s current number.In a week that lacks the gusto of previous Opens and major championships, Fowler is the clear-cut favorite in Las Vegas (5/1), with golf’s governing bodies (he can reach millennials!) and among the patrons on the ground here at Erin Hills.On Saturday, the two-time major victor played like he should have been.”Show up for the last six holes, anyway”, McIlroy said. You know, I’ve got four weeks off now.A 94-year-old spectator has died at the U.S. Open.American Patrick Reed also flirted with the U.S. Open record, signing for a seven-under 65 to headline a pack of five at eight-under. But then he three-putted from long range on the 13th and the 14th, and lost all hope when he missed the green on the 17th while going after the flag.Fowler, meanwhile, entered the round with a one-shot lead over Casey and Xander Schauffele, who is now in the group at 5 under.Day added a 75 to his first-round 79 which included two triple bogeys.Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who shot a 1-under 71, says “I think the greens are getting U.S. Open-like, but not as firm as they’re going to get if we don’t get any rain”. “Every time you have a hard golf course, they’ll jump out at the beginning, and Rickie (Fowler) had that great run yesterday, and he’s seeing 7 (under par)”.”I hate just being in the situation where I’ve been in a good spot and maybe let it get away from me a little bit and let some mistakes compound and turn a round that you (just) kind of fight through it and end up being in a decent spot after the day”, Fowler said.Joining them were British Open champion Henrik Stenson (No. 6), Alex Noren (No. 8), Jon Rahm (No. 10), Justin Rose (No. 11) and Adam Scott (No. 12).There’s plenty of golf left to be played and Mother Nature will dictate what the course will tee up.McIlroy has birdied three of his last four holes.Casey started the second round just one shot behind Rickie Fowler, and he tied Fowler briefly with a birdie on the par-4 11th hole before dropping a shot on the 12th. The ball landed on the front of the green just soft enough that it rolled out 8 feet by the hole.”I was in the hay too much over the last couple of days”, Day said. He loved Erin Hills, a course with wide fairways between the knee-high fescue that he figured would allow him to attack.The 34-year-old finished second in both the US Open and Open Championship in 2015, with his remarkable performance at Chambers Bay leaving him as the holder of two tournament records.Johnson has now missed the cut in consecutive events just four times in the last 18 months. “I feel like that’s going to help me to get back into contention and hopefully try to win some of these things”.