The top three players in the world will not play the weekend of a major championship for the first time since the Official World Rankings were introduced in 1986.
For the second straight year, world number two Rory McIlroy is packing his bags early, as is defending champion and world number one Dustin Johnson and world number three Jason Day.
Johnson needed to post a round of 70 to survive the one-over cut. He started strong with back-to-back birdies and hovered around the cut line for part of Friday afternoon, but missed putts late cost him the chance to become the first player to defend his US Open title since Curtis Strange in 1989. Johnson shot a 73 for a four-over total.
After posting a first-round 78, McIlroy found more of a rhythm on Friday, shooting a 71. But his five-over finish was well short of the one-over cut, the lowest in US Open history. The previous record was three-over par.
On Thursday, McIlroy hit just five fairways and nine greens in regulation. (That was his first competitive round since the Players, having taken time off to heal from a rib injury.) On Friday, he hit 11 fairways and 12 greens but his five birdies were offset by four bogeys.
“I was a little anxious going out there,” McIlroy said. “I got off to a good start, but it sort of caught up with me as the round went on. I think the more rounds I can play, I’m hopefully going to get rid of all that stuff and hopefully stripe it down to what you saw the last six holes.”
Day carded a75 Friday to finish a disappointing 10-over par.
“It’s pretty frustrating when I got here Friday, put a lot of work in — not a lot, but I tried to pace myself,” Day said. “I did the work, looked at the golf course, made sure that I could actually play and visualize the golf course. And I felt the most calm I have in a major in a long time this week…Unfortunately this didn’t pan out.”
At the top of the board, there’s a four-way logjam for the lead with English pair Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood joining American duo Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman on 7-under par.
First-round leader Rickie Fowler shot a 1-over 73 to lie 6-under alongside Jamie Lovemark and JB Holmes, with Hideki Matsuyama a further shot on 5-under adrift after a stunning 65.
In total, eight of the top 12 players in the world missed the cut, including Masters runner-up Justin Rose, who shot 72, 74 for a 2-over total, Open champion Henrik Stenson and former Masters winner Adam Scott, who both finished 3 over, and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson on 4-over.
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