Si Woo Kim making move up leaderboard

Si Woo Kim making move up leaderboard

Nearly an inch of rain fell on the course overnight, but scoring conditions were far from easy as the likes of former champion Jordan Spieth and Lee Westwood tried to move into contention.

Paul Casey declared himself satisfied with a "roller-coaster" second round at the U.S. Open, which saw him break par despite dropping five shots in four holes on his first nine.

Thomas fired nine birdies and an eagle on the 18th to card a nine-under-par 63 and take over the clubhouse lead on 11 under par, two shots clear of compatriots Brian Harman and Brendan Steele and England's Tommy Fleetwood. Thomas made six birdies and one bogey on his front nine in the third round, and Hoffman birdied three of his first five holes.

Both golfers struggled to find the fairways and too often they were forced to hack it out of the waist-deep rough. "You don't think you're going to shoot 7-under par at the U.S. Open".

And despite starting his second round with bogeys on his first two holes, the South African bounced back to record a superb 66 which he matched in the third round.

And, although McIlroy also recorded a 71 thanks to four birdies in his last six holes, the damage had already been done by a 78 on Thursday, when a record 44 players had broken par in the benign conditions. He shot 68 and was only three back. It was one of his four top-10 finishes between the European and PGA Tours this season.

"Yeah, it's a good spot to be in", he said.

Playing partner Jason Day was also six over and 13 shots off the lead held by American Rickie Fowler, who was among the later starters.

Johnson was hitting it so well that he appeared to be safe even when he was on the cut line.

It was McIlroy's first tournament since taking time off to tend to a recurring rib injury. "I was just happy that I was the one that was able to take advantage of it today".

Matsuyama tied a second-round U.S. Open record in relation to par with his seven-under score, and his bogey-free 65 could have been even better.

"I felt like I've been playing pretty well all week, and didn't have quite the numbers to show for it". One example of that was Fowler hitting 3-wood into the green on the 632-yard 18th hole, with a breeze at his back.

McIlroy, who had stumbled through a lacklustre opening round on Thursday, again found the going tough after teeing off on the 10th hole.

The Englishman rallied with a string of five birdies in a row on the way to a 71 that put the smile back on his face and his name on top of the leaderboard at Erin Hills.

And for all the birdies and blunders at Erin Hills, the most compelling image Friday came from the parking lot, where one star after another left town after missing the cut.

Day, however, came to the U.S. Open off of a second and a tie for 15th in his last two starts. When I was younger it went everywhere.

Reed, a fiery member of the US Ryder Cup team, said he had benefited from taking a more relaxed approach to the major.

"Even though it's very disappointing to not be here on the weekend, I think these last two rounds will serve me well going into the summer", McIlroy said.

McIlroy worked with his coach Michael Bannon on making a smoother transition from the top of his backswing and although he was three over par after 12 holes, birdies on the fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth ended the week on a high.

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