Fowler leads US Open at Erin Hills

Fowler leads US Open at Erin Hills

Fowler leads US Open at Erin Hills

Aside from Fowler the top of the leaderboard is missing plenty of marquee names and as a result Fowler has moved to the big 3/1 favorite to win his first major heading into Friday's second round, according to the Westgate LV Superbook.

But under sunny skies Erin Hills looked more friend than foe with 44 golfers breaking par setting a record for the opening round of a U.S. Open.

Fowler will be among the later starters along with defending champion Dustin Johnson, who opened defence of his crown with shaky three-over 75 and will need to mount a charge to make the cut.

Rory McIlroy sprayed the ball all over the place.

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.

Fowler returned a seven-under 65 for a one-shot lead over compatriot Xander Schauffele and Englishman Paul Casey.

Phil Mickelson had to withdraw from the event after realizing he wouldn't arrive on time. The previous record was 39.

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Rickie Fowler made light of the longest course in major championship history with a "stress-free" and record-equalling start to the 117th US Open. If only he had hit the fairways.

"Simple day when you look back on it".

"I've got a busy summer, so I'm excited to play a lot of golf".

After his round, McIlroy, who hit just five fairways to tie for last in the 156-man field in that category, said: "I don't think I hit a fairway from the 10th and you can not play this golf course if you are not in position off the tee". There was a couple of holes that the bunker kind of sticks out in the middle of the fairway.

"They got a kick out of it", he said.

With Fowler not teeing off until the afternoon, the morning action was dominated by a roller coaster round from England's Paul Casey, who recovered from a dramatic collapse to claw his way back into contention.

Yet McIlroy was over par.

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Fowler will tee off on Friday in the afternoon session alongside Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and Spaniard Jon Rahm.

Brooks Koepka started on No. 10 and made four birdies on his front nine to get to 9 under, moving into a tie with Fowler for the top spot. His round would have been better had it not been for two bogeys in his closing holes. Tee time: 8:24 a.m. One, however, was a great save from the now-infamous Erin Hills fescue that easily could have ballooned his score.

But the top-ranked players, with the exception of Garcia, who shot 2 under 70, faltered during the opening round.

They loved every up-and-down for par, and Stricker needed a bunch of them.

And then, Fowler took a bogeys at Nos. And perhaps the way the rest of the weekend will play out, if Mother Nature and the USGA's course setups align.

The 25-year-old from Japan opened his U.S. Open with a 74 on Thursday, then rallied on Friday to not only make the cut but to play himself into a tie for eighth heading into the weekend. And the next few days could afford to be a little more stressful.

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