Tommy Fleetwood was relaxed about sharing the lead at the halfway stage of the US Open as the absence of some of golf's biggest names set up an intriguing weekend at Erin Hills.
Fleetwood, who had made just one cut in his previous seven majors, birdied the last to add a 70 to his opening 67 and finish seven under par alongside compatriot Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman.
With the cut falling at one over par, the entire field was separated by just eight shots - but for the first time since the rankings were introduced in 1986, none of the world's top three would be around for the weekend.
Rory McIlroy at least had the satisfaction of four birdies in his last six holes to improve by seven shots on his opening 78, while Jason Day's 75 left him 10 over and world number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson finished four over.
Fleetwood was a lowly 188th in the rankings last September, but has reaped the rewards of returning to his former coach Alan Thompson and employing his friend Ian Finnis as his caddie.
The 26-year-old from Southport, who finished a shot ahead of Johnson to claim his second European Tour title in Abu Dhabi in January, said: "It's going to be great.
"I've never done this before. I've never a led US Open, so it will be a very cool experience. It's still Saturday, 36 holes is a very long time in a US Open.
"There are always ups and downs out there. But I think with how long the course is and how long the days are, I won't worry."
Speaking about the changes he made last year, Fleetwood added: "I went back to my old coach and had one of my best mates caddying and I think that can't be underestimated, having your friend with you, whether you're leading the US Open or playing a casual round at home.
"I think those two things and a lot of hard work have got me here really. I think it's easy to lose track. It's very easy to take off on your own path, and before you know it, you're too far down there and it's a long way back.
"We have come back sooner than I thought, so that's been nice really."
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