"I've been very light on competitive rounds", McIlroy said.
"They should be wide enough for me to hit it into", he said. I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did. "Part of that is just age, and part I'll give credit to caddy Johnny McLaren, credit to my wife and my little boy".
Fowler's blemish free-start came to an abrupt halt with three straight bogeys from the 11th and a missed birdie putt from 10 feet at the par-five 14th, allowing Koepka to claim the outright advantage despite a dropped shot at the first. The top 60 and ties qualify for the final 36 holes.
It's easy when you're firing at flagsticks and the hole looks as big as a bucket, as it did on Thursday morning for Rickie Fowler, when he tied a U.S. Open record in relation to par by opening with a 7-under 65 at Erin Hills. Get through the tough pin and get to the next hole ... But I don't let it bother me.
The course was set up at 7,845 yards, the longest of any major.
"I know it's cliche, but the last thing you need to be doing is thinking ahead, especially on this golf course".
"All in all, I've got to be happy", Els said.
"We're in a good spot", Fowler said, referring to his status in the first-person plural after shooting 1-over 73.
As for Johnson? His second son was born Monday and Johnson was headed to California to spend time with his family, change some diapers and presumably work on his putting. He won't play again until The Open at Royal Birkdale next month.
But there was no hope for Day and McIlroy. He shot 75 and missed the cut.
"I'm a big fan, " McIlroy said. He missed almost two months at the start of the year when he was diagnosed with a slight rib fracture, and then the latest break after The Players Championship. "I was a little anxious starting out yesterday, and it caught up to me". "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". "It has an Open Championship feel about it".
That appeared to prompt 1995 US PGA champion Steve Elkington to write on Twitter that "Rory is so bored playiing golf...without Tiger [Woods] the threshold is prolly 4 majors with 100mill in bank".
That's eight of the next 10 weeks after just seven starts in 2017.
"It's been the best preparation going into a major, I felt like, in my career", he said. It was only his seventh PGA Tour event this year because of a rib injury that has kept him out of action since the Players Championship and caused him to miss the BMW Championship and the Memorial.
"I put it in the wrong places", he said.
"I like this golf course".
Els followed up his opening-round 70 with a level-par 72 on Friday, while Aiken carded a 71.
No left-hander has won the U.S. Open, the only major championship without a left-handed victor.
Day added a 75 to his first-round 79, which included two triple-bogeys.