None of the top 18 players on the leaderboard have won a major championship before and stars such as world number two Rory McIlroy and Australia's Jason Day both missed the cut.
While Erin Hills was still not playing as hard as many past U.S. Open courses, it was beginning to firm up from the early week rain, plus the USGA had a few tricks up its sleeve.
In all, 23 players are within four shots of the lead. And at this U.S. Open, he showed how a quick recovery is never too far away. After three birdies on the back, he still finished +2 on the back after two bogeys and a triple.
Another warm, dry day is drying out the course, and the players are noticing a difference.
Koepka, Harman and Fleetwood all shot matching 2-under 70s to join Casey at 7-under.
Top-ranked and defending champion Dustin Johnson also will be looking for a lot of birdies to get back in contention after a 3-over 75.
"Not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an eight on the card, but I'm a pretty happy man", said Casey. "It was a bit of a roller coaster". "I guess it's rare you get through a US Open or any major without some kind of a hiccup".
While Fowler tied for the lowest ever first round score in relation to par at seven-under, Johnson, Spieth, Day and McIlroy all had days to forget. "I was out of it. trying to stay out of the way of Rory".
However, while the world's top three are making other plans for the weekend after missing the cut, college amateur Cameron Champ is proving that massive tee shots can still help get the job done on the long, links-style layout.
Day arrived at Erin Hills a week ago and felt "I put in the best preparation for any major in my career, " he said.
Sure, he birdied four of his last six holes to salvage a 71 and finish at 5-over 149. That still didn't appear to be almost enough. He missed a six-foot putt on his last hole, which would have given him sole possession of the lead.
Casey's prospects looked to have suffered a potentially fatal blow when he followed a birdie on the 11th, his second hole of the day, with a bogey on the 12th and a triple-bogey on the 14th. Then his game flattened out on the front nine, bogeying one and six.
"I played well, I just really struggled on the greens. again", Scott told AAP. "Even just trying to take my medicine is very, very hard. It's a good eightin the end".
And they had plenty of company in red numbers, so much that Erin Hills set a U.S. Open record for the first round by yielding 44 sub-par rounds, breaking by five the record set in 1990 at Medinah. Even as the course slowly recovered from rain early in the week, reasonable scores were available.
Harris English, who is 4 under after a second-round 69, said the greens on his last few holes "were firming up".
Of the 68 players who made the cut, 42 are under par.
The 25-year-old from Japan opened his U.S. Open with a 74 on Thursday, then rallied Friday to not only make the cut but to play himself into a tie for eighth heading into the weekend. If the sun shines and the wind blows, it's going to dry out.
But there was no hope for Day and McIlroy. In fact, eight of the top 12 golfers in the world missed the cut, a first in OWGR history dating back to 1986, according to Bob Harig. "And just unfortunately, this didn't pan out".
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Despite the lack of marquee names atop the leaderboard, this is hardly an unknown group of contenders battling it out for the U.S. A bogey at the extremely hard par-4 fourth hole was the only blip on the front nine and he made the turn at one-over for the day.
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When he finished his round at Erin Hills , the four-times major victor was four shots outside the projected cut of one over. Garcia carded an eagle, three birdies and three bogeys in a roller coaster round. "I guess it's rare you get through a U.S.
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McIlroy, Day try to make up ground, make cut at US Open
For most others, like Henrik Stenson , it was being careless off the tee and facing the rigorous test of recovering. But the top-ranked players, with the exception of Garcia, who shot 2 under 70, faltered during the opening round.
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The last time Day missed a cut in a major was the 2012 PGA Championship, just a month after his son was born. He missed the cut at last year's PGA and withdrew from this year's Masters after falling down a staircase.
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The top three players in the world have never missed the cut in the same major dating to when the world ranking began in 1986. There was a slight breeze out there, and the greens were receptive if you were in the fairway.
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