ERIN, Wisconsin (Reuters) - World number three Jason Day followed his opening round 79 with a three-over 75 on Friday for a 10-over-par 154 total to complete a short stay at the 117th U.S. Open.
With the top 60 and ties qualifying for the final rounds at Erin Hills, the cut appeared set to fall at one or two over par as the afternoon wave started their second rounds.
Second-ranked Rory McIlroy also looked sure to have the weekend free when the Northern Irishman added a 71 to his first-round 78 for a five-over total of 149.
“I was in the hay too much over the last couple of days,” Day told reporters about the knee-high fescue grass lining the fairways at the links-style layout in the Wisconsin countryside.
“I usually love places like this. I enjoyed the walk,” he said. “The golf course is actually really beautiful. And I just unfortunately didn’t execute.”
McIlroy, who has struggled through a nagging rib injury that has limited him to six tournaments this year, saw some positive signs in the second round after complaining about feeling rusty after his substandard opening 18 holes.
“Showed up for the last six holes, anyway,” said the four-times major winner, who made four birdies on his second nine, including his finishing hole, the par-three ninth.
“I saw some positives there on the back nine coming in and hopefully I can take them to the Travelers (tournament) next week. Just excited to get on a run of golf and get going.”
McIlroy said he would be hitting the practice ground this weekend. “Even though it’s very disappointing to not be here on the weekend, I think these last two rounds will serve me well going into the summer.”
Day was particularly disappointed because he thought he had prepared properly for the championship.
“It’s been the best preparation going into a major,” Day told reporters. “It’s pretty frustrating.”
The Australian said he might have been thrown by the look of the layout.
”The biggest thing about this course is that the fairways are massive. When you’re trying to aim at a target usually at a normal golf course, with normal width fairways, there’s some pressure in hitting the fairway.
“I think with everything so large, your target is larger and your misses get even more extreme. The execution was not there.”
Editing by Gene Cherry