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Last year's U.S. Masters champion Danny Willett withdrew from the U.S. Open with a sore back on Friday as the Englishman's injury woes continued.

Such low scoring might suggest the 11-year-old course was a cream puff, hardly the USGA's idea of the ultimate test in golf. "I knew I needed to drive it well and from there was just able to manage hitting and continuing to swing well and hitting good shots and rolling a couple in".

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.

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

Tall fescue grass on the fourth, 12th, 14th and 18th holes at Erin Hills was being cut on Tuesday as McIlroy spoke to the media, which caught the 2011 champion by surprise.

"It's not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an eight on the card", Casey said. It's got a U.S. Open feel to it. Fowler and Rahm each shot 73.

The World No 14 ended his round not long before overnight first round Rickie Fowler was due to tee off.

"I guess it's where you get through a U.S. Open or any major without some kind of hiccup".

He then joined Fowler on 7-under with a birdie on the par-four 11th, playing a brilliant iron from the fairway to three feet to tap in.

They were among a record 44 players who broke par on the first day, surpassing the previous high set in 1990 when 39 players finished the first round in the red at Medinah Country Club near Chicago.

"I'm ready to be up there (in the final round on Sunday)", Fowler said.

Shane Lowry looks like he will just make that cut after his two-over round of 74 on day two.

Alongside Schauffele at five under were Brian Harman, Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka (all afternoon starters like Fowler), Kim Si-woo (70) and amateur Cameron Champ, who was three under for the day through 15 holes. "I didn't hit it great, but I hit it good enough to shoot a good score".

"I am a pretty happy man".

"It's still Saturday - 36 holes is a very long time in a U.S. Open".

Many golfers were stunned to see a small blimp crash near the tournament.

"It's just nice to go out and actually execute the game plan and not think about, "What if that one went in" or anything like that", Fowler said.

"I was teeing off and I looked up and saw it on fire, and I felt sick to my stomach", Jamie Lovemark said. "I enjoyed the walk, the golf course is handsome but I just didn't execute".

Six times a runner-up at the U.S. Open, Mickelson skipped another chance at completing a career grand slam when it became obvious Mother Nature was not going to cooperate and delay the start of the opening round.

He then roared through the turn with five straight birdies from the first before the streak came to a screeching halt with a bogey at the par-three sixth. Fowler's 65 also represents the second-lowest first-round score in tournament history behind Nicklaus and Weiskopf.