After tying for 45th at the Memorial last month, Matsuyama arrived at Erin Hills on a downturn in a topsy-turvy season. DJ looked very disappointed as he was hoping to defend his title while Day and McIlroy seemed more resigned to their fate.
Jason Day followed up a 79 in the first round with a 75 in round two, Rory McIlroy was always up against it after a 78 on Thursday and although he shot one under on Friday he was well short of the cut.
Casey, who had shot a six-under-par 66 on Thursday, had threatened to mount an early assault on the leaderboard but came unstuck with a disastrous triple bogey eight on the 14th. He was tied for 151st place five from the bottom.
Casey birdied five holes in a row after the rough stretch and was the first player in the clubhouse at seven-under. But any bad taste in his mouth shouldn't last long because it's been an impressive week for the 29-year-old Valspar Championship victor from Abbotsford, B.C. In Thursday's first round, he tied a U.S. Open record by making six consecutive birdies en route to a four-under 68 and a share of seventh place.
The par-4 15th was set up as a drivable hole - downwind and only 288 yards. "I didn't score and then I hit a couple loose shots off the tee that cost me my day". "Timing was a little off". "I've got to keep the confidence going, keep the momentum and see if we can have a good weekend and have a chance on Sunday".
"So, I am a pretty happy man".
England's Danny Willett, after a nine-over-par round of 81 yesterday, withdrew from the tournament early with a back complaint.
"The majors have a different feel and sound to the roars and to hear the crowd go insane when I holed that putt on 18 was really cool", said Thomas, whose back-to-back wins in Hawaii in January included an opening 59 in the Sony Open. Erin Hills must have felt like another planet, not the same state.
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. You've got 156 of the best players in the world here.
It wasn't the only one. He punched the third back into the fairway but needed two more to get on the green and two to get down for his second seven.
Nor did McIlroy, though it must have been tempting. It might sting a little more for McIlroy (+5) and Day (+10), who played in the same group and said after their round that they were consoling each other along the way.
Some of the world's top-ranked players and pre-tournament favourites will miss the cut. Jordan Spieth was even par through 12 holes and going nowhere.
"I really haven't been hitting the ball well as of late", Matsuyama said. When it was clear he had nothing going in the second round, he was simply trying to stay out of the way.
He'll need so much help, and he figures it might need to start with the USGA.
Johnson has missed just four PGA Tour cuts in the past 23 months - dating back to the 2016 PGA Championship - but it's now two straight since the Memorial two weeks ago and this week at the U.S. Open.
At least he's still playing this weekend.
Getting to the weekend might feel like a victory all by itself.