Friday, 19 January, 2018

Fowler leads US Open after one round

A blimp used by TV appears to crash during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday AP An advertising blimp crashed in an open field about half a mile from the Erin Hills golf course
Noah Ferguson | 17 June, 2017, 09:47

Leishman is now sharing eighth place, only three shots back of co-leaders Rickie Fowler and England's Paul Casey at seven-under.

(That was his first competitive round since the Players, having taken time off to heal from a rib injury.) On Friday, he hit 11 fairways and 12 greens but his five birdies were offset by four bogeys.

Young American Xander Schauffele, who had started the day alongside Casey in joint second, held steady in the toughening conditions reeling off four pars before carding his first birdie of the day at the fifth to join Fowler at the top. 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.

And the former Ryder Cup player then made it five birdies in succession - just one short of the US Open record equalled by Adam Hadwin on Thursday - by picking up shots on the first, second and third. Taking the long walk to sign his card, he looked back at the rain-softened course and mild breeze and said wistfully, "You won't get a better day for scoring".

"The fairways should be wide enough for me to hit, it was just one of those days".

"I feel like I'm capable of a low score on Friday, I just need to get the ball on the fairway and give myself some chances for birdies".

Jason Day and Rory McIlroy never got that memo. His 7-under par tied the record to par for the first round of a U.S. Open held by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf, who each shot 7-under 63 at Baltusrol in 1980.

"I lost a bit of skin out there", Casey said of the triple bogey. Fowler shot a 73 and was still very much in the hunt at a second straight major. For the second straight year, Rory McIlroy is packing his bags early, as is defending champion Dustin Johnson and world No. 3 Jason Day.

Champ said a practice round with former British Open victor Louis Oosthuizen and four-times major victor McIlroy on Monday helped his confidence.

Although Koepka's game goes well beyond his power off the tee, at Erin Hills, which played to 7,839 yards on Friday, his distance advantage has been crucial.

Rickie Fowler had a 7-under 65, and was one of 44 players to break par - a record for the first round of a U.S. Open.

After tying for 45th at the Memorial last month, Matsuyama arrived at Erin Hills on a downturn in a topsy-turvy season.

"Guess what?" he said to his 4-year-old son. "To shoot a good round like today, I'm certainly looking forward to the weekend".

But he steadied himself with good par saves at the next two holes before holing from 15 feet for birdie at the fourth and, after another scrambled par save at the sixth, he pitched to a foot at the long seventh to set up his second gain.

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.

"It's been the best preparation going into a major", Day said.

McIlroy is back to even-par for the round after bogeying the first three holes on the front nine.

"I just did a good job".

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