Wednesday, 17 October, 2018


The mighty recovery of Paul Casey puts him in US Open mix

Fans line a hill on the 17th hole The mighty recovery of Paul Casey puts him in US Open mix
Noah Ferguson | 17 June, 2017, 11:15

Jason Day closed the opening round of the US Open on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) with a forgettable 79, putting him in a tie for 151st place and 14 shots off leader Rickie Fowler of the US.

Big names staring down an early exit are former US Open winners Jordan Spieth (one-over, 2.20pm tee time), Dustin Johnson (three-over, 2.20pm tee time) and Rory McIlroy (five-over after a 71).

Important results (first round): 65: Rickie Fowler (USA); 66: Paul Casey (Eng), Xander Schauffele (USA); 67: Brian Harman (USA), Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Brooks Koepka (USA); 68: Patrick Reed (USA), Kevin Na (USA), Marc Leishman (Aus), Adam Hadwin (Can); 69: Jamie Lovemark (USA), J.B. Holmes (USA), Lee Westwood (Eng), Andrew Johnston (Eng), Kim Si-Woo (Kor), Scottie Scheffler (USA), Jim Furyk (USA), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut).

"You can not play this golf course if you're not in position off the tee, and I wasn't in position", he said.

Meanwhile, Graeme McDowell is also in the midst of his second round and is now one shot clear of Dunne on 3-over but also sitting outside the cut mark. That could have been a great start of the round really.

McIlroy however, who is returning from a hip and back injury, put a courageous face on his second consecutive missed cut at a US Open following his exit at the halfway stage in 2016.

Fowler's seven birdies were from no more than 12 feet, including three in a row around the turn.

The last six majors have been won by first-timers, and that cycle has a good chance to continue. The 44 players who broke par in the opening round set a U.S. Open record that had stood since there were 39 subpar rounds at Medinah in 1990. That's not going to get it done (to say the least) on a course like Erin Hills.

Now he'll have to go home and try to decipher what went wrong and, just like McIlroy, gear up for the next major, the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in July.

"I played great", said the 44-year-old, who shot 80 when playing with eventual victor Johnson in the final round at Oakmont.

"So a little bit of timing, and a bit of rust as well".

He was at 7-under 137, two shots clear of anyone else who played early in warm sunshine on a course that getting dry and crispy.

Fowler finished his bogey-free round with seven birdies-including three straight at Nos.

McIlroy, just recently back from an injury, looked rusty and when you're not at your best at the US Open, it usually ends in a bad way for you, just like it did for the Irishman in this first round.

The highlight of his round came on the par-four fourth, where he lofted an approach into the middle of the green, before the ball bounced again and turned to land in the hole for a birdie.

"If I can get through to the weekend, I can slowly edge my way back in; you really don't have to do too much on the weekend of a US Open to move up the leaderboard".

"I don't just want to be trying to make the cut, I want to win so if I have two under-par nines on Friday, I'm going to be in good shape going into the weekend".

On Thursday, McIlroy hit just five fairways and nine greens in regulation.

Given his good form and impressive major track record, expect to see Casey back near (or at) the top of the Sunday leaderboard.

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