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Paul Casey said he anticipates a knee-jerk reaction from the USGA and expects the course to become ‘treacherous’ after a record 44 players went under par on Thursday.

The 39-year-old was one of those, getting his round off to a flyer by starting eagle-birdie before ending up with a six-under-par 66 to sit just one back from leader Rickie Fowler.

But Casey believes that with favourable conditions, course set-up and the USGA’s obsession with par, that’s the easiest the players will find the course this week.

“We’re all interested to see where the pin positions are going to be tomorrow and if there’s a knee jerk reaction,” he said. “I thought it was spectacular.

“It’s got a US Open feel to it. The grounds are spectacular. It’s going to be incredibly difficult come the weekend, just because we’ve had the deluge yesterday and the days leading into this. It’s pretty benign and receptive. It’s not going to last. If the sun shines and the wind blows, it’s going to dry out. It will be treacherous.”

Paul Casey1

Casey couldn’t hide his delight after signing for his 66 after being awestruck watching Fowler’s seven-under-par 65, which tied the lowest round in relation to par in US Open history.

“I would have snapped your arm for a six-under,” admitted Casey. “I watched Rickie this morning. I love watching the golf early mornings on major championships, and this morning was no exception. I’m a Rickie Fowler fan, and the golf he played this morning was beautiful.

“I was hoping and praying if I could get the same kind of conditions and hoping and praying I would be half as good as Rickie Fowler, so to be right behind him I’m ecstatic. I never started off with an eagle before at a US Open. I really enjoyed it. Great crowds. Love the whole experience.”

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