Greens at Erin Hills starting to firm up

However the 39-year-old world number 14 unfurled a sequence of five straight birdies to haul himself back up the leaderboard, carding a one-under-par 71 to finish the day at seven under.

Meanwhile, the pilot of a blimp that crashed Thursday morning just east of the golf course reportedly remains in serious condition.

After opening this championship with 28 consecutive holes without a bogey, Fowler made three in a row on the back nine in the second round. Yeah, it was a bit of a roller coaster.

Matsuyama vaulted into contention at the U.S. Open with a 7-under 65 on Friday, moving to 5 under and a tie for eighth - just two shots back of the four-way tie atop the crowded leaderboard.

Big, bold, open and long, Erin Hills appeared to be set up for big boppers like Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, but they ended up at five over and 10 over, respectively. When it was clear he had nothing going in the second round, he was simply trying to stay out of the way. A day after Rickie Fowler's 7-under opening round, that same score is still leading but it's shared by four players - not including Fowler, who shot a 1-over 73 to sit one back.

McIlroy joked earlier in the week that anyone who couldn't hit such wide fairways "might as well pack your bags and go home".

"I think just in practice I was really, really good, and I just wasn't able to translate that onto the golf course", said McIlroy, who has played just six events this year and none since The Players four weeks ago.

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"I showed up for the last six holes, anyway", said McIlroy, who won at Congressional in 2011 with a record 16-under-par total, but is now a combined 55 over par for his other eight US Open appearances. That still didn't appear to be almost enough.

"My best friend has caddied for me for six or seven years", said Champ. World number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson is among the late starters and will have to improve on Thursday's three-over effort if he hopes to take his title defence into the weekend. He birdied five straight holes, starting with the 17th after teeing off on the 10th, but that run only served to negate a triple bogey on 14 as well as bogies on 12 and 15 to card a one-under 71. After a couple of tap-in birdies to start his round, Johnson missed a short attempt on the fourth hole and never got untracked.

Fowler will tee off on Friday in the afternoon session alongside Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and Spaniard Jon Rahm. The next one went long, he chipped up to 12 feet and took two putts from there. "Even just trying to take my medicine is very, very hard. It was a good eight in the end".

Bill Haas played bogey-free in his round of 68 and joined a group at 4-under 140 that included Harris English (69) and Marc Leishman (72). The trio made the cut.

McIlroy and Day needed low rounds to have any chance of advancing to the weekend, and neither was able to produce anything near what was necessary.

Neither player came close to making the cut, and for the first time since the Official World Golf Ranking system began in 1986, the top three players in the world have been eliminated after 36 holes of a major championship.

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