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It was near the end of his round Friday, and Jason Day's fate had been sealed.

Given the wayward shots coming from Day's clubs, it was not a hard task.

Pardon the gallows humor.

Both players liked the course but put their performance down to a lack of execution.

McIlroy, the reigning FedExCup champ, fared slightly better. One example of that was Fowler hitting 3-wood into the green on the 632-yard 18th hole, with a breeze at his back.

Playing in the same group as Day, second-ranked Rory McIlroy had almost as much trouble as he shot a 6-over 78.

One shot back. Jamie Lovemark.

For the first time since the Official World Golf Ranking began in 1986, Nos. Lowry finished in joint second place at last year's US Open, and made a solid start to this year's edition, finishing with a host of players on one under par. "Part of that is just age and part I'll give credit to Johnny McLaren (his caddie), credit to my wife and my little boy". At Augusta, Georgia, this year, Rickie started his 2017 major campaign by ending the second day on top of the leaderboard with a 67. But if I just make one or two of the good looks I have, it's a couple under.

"You can not play this golf course if you're not in position off the tee, and I wasn't in position", McIlroy said.

In retrospect, perhaps the missed cuts are not a total surprise - at least from McIlroy's standpoint.

McIlroy joked earlier in the week that anyone who couldn't hit such wide fairways "might as well pack your bags and go home". But Casey's momentum ran into the buffers on the next hole, when he twice found the thick rough and had to settle for a bogey five to drop back to 6-under.

"Really?" an incredulous McIlroy said.

"I need to get competitive rounds, a card in my hand, " he said. "I like the way this golf course suits me and we're off to a good start, but there's definitely a lot of golf to be played".

"I saw some positives there on the back nine coming in and hopefully I can take them to the Travelers (Championship) next week".

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After Thursday's round, McIlroy and his coach Michael Bannon discussed his swing issues.

"All in all, I've got to be happy", Els said.

"I just played bad golf", Day said.

Johnson blamed his struggles this week on one club - his putter.

"I played great", said the 44-year-old, who shot 80 when playing with eventual victor Johnson in the final round at Oakmont. "They told me it hit the flag and stopped short".

Eight of the top 12 in the world will not be around for the weekend at this most unusual U.S. Open, where the top 60 and ties advanced to the final two rounds. A win. I wrote previous year (363 days ago to be exact) that a major championship was on the horizon for an OSU golfer, with Fowler being the most obvious candidate.

The question is whether Erin Hills delivered either in the opening round.

In 2016, what many, including myself thought would be the year Fowler finally won a major, it was more of the same.

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.

It seems doubtful that Love IV can actually mount a challenge to win this weekend, but he could make the cut and make some noise.

"You don't get many rounds at the US Open that are stress-free", admitted Fowler afterwards.

"I hit it literally a yard into the fescue", Na said, "and I was lucky to find it".

"The biggest thing about this course is that the fairways are massive", Day said.

"I heard him calling out for help when I got there".

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