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Fowler assumes US Open lead with 7-under 65

17 June 2017

While McIlroy and former world number one Jason Day missed the cut, amateur Cameron Champ - who turned 22 on Thursday - and Xander Schauffele were unlikely contenders on five under par, alongside Players Championship victor Si Woo Kim. He birdied three straight holes to move into second at 6 under, one shot back of co-leaders Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele.

A record 44 players broke par in the first round, but betting favorites Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth weren't among them.

With so numerous big names struggling, it was an opportunity for the lesser-known players to shine as Brian Harmen, Tommy Fleetwood did well, along with the better known Brooks Koepka, staying just two shots behind the leader Fowler after the opening round in Wisconsin.

"It really isn't about the score", he said.

McIlroy made a 30-foot putt for eagle on the short par-4 second hole and was even par at the turn. "I don't think I hit a fairway from the 10th".

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McIlroy won the US Open with a record 16-under-par total in 2011, but was a combined 50 over par for his seven other appearances before this week and missed the cut at Oakmont a year ago following rounds of 77 and 71.

"Guess what?" he said to 4-year-old Dash.

It was the highest opening round by a defending U.S. Open champion since Rory McIlroy shot 77 at Olympic Club and missed the cut.

He then joined Fowler on seven under with a birdie on the par-four 11th, playing a brilliant iron from the fairway to three feet to tap in.

"I just didn't putt very well", Johnson said.

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Yet rather than act as the catalyst for a low-scoring round, McIlroy's momentum stalled on the next hole when he three-putted for bogey. "I've played a lot of golf with him and have seen him at his best".

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the pilot at this time", the USGA said in a statement. Scottie Scheffler, who just finished his junior year at Texas, had a 69 and amateur Cameron Champ had a 70 in his U.S. Open debut.

Davis Love III is out on the course at Erin Hills this week, just not in the role you'd expect. Johnson capped off this collective failure with a late collapse on the back nine at Erin Hills, making three bogeys over a five-hole stretch and closing with a 73. You can not play this golf course if you're not in position off the tee, and I wasn't in position. "The putter was hot on the front side to keep me in it, so it's all there, it's just a matter of putting it together and I'm not out of it".

The Englishman had to battle for his one-under round of 71 as he endured a nightmare eight on the par five 14th, shooting over the back of the green and seeing one of his five strokes from there roll back to his feet. "There's no secret that I'm very fiery and a competitor and I've let my emotions get the best of me for sure so I'm understanding that if I can control those I certainly have a better chance of playing well".

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Fowler assumes US Open lead with 7-under 65