Rickie Fowler made gentle of the longest course in main championship historical past to supply a record-equalling begin to the US Open on Thursday.
Erin Hills had been set as much as play to 7,845 yards within the first spherical, surpassing the file set at Chambers Bay in 2015 by 150 yards, however a mix of extensive fairways and a course softened by thunderstorms earlier within the week helped Fowler card seven birdies in a flawless opening 65.
That equalled the bottom rating in relation to par within the first spherical of a US Open, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf having each shot 63 within the first spherical on the par-70 structure at Baltusrol in 1980.
“I’d rather be remembered for something that’s done on Sunday,” stated Fowler, who completed within the prime 5 in all 4 majors in 2014 however has but to win one of many recreation’s largest prizes.
“I did not see seven below at the beginning of the week, however right now is the perfect we’re going to get. I simply stored making putts when it mattered.
“It was nice. You don’t get many rounds at the US Open that are stress-free. I knew I needed to drive it well and from there was just able to manage hitting and continuing to swing well and hitting good shots and rolling a couple in.”
Fowler, who was 25 over par for his earlier 4 rounds within the US Open, began from the 10th and birdied the 11th, 12th, 14th and 18th to succeed in the flip in 32, earlier than selecting up additional photographs on the primary, second and seventh.
That left the 28-year-old two photographs away from compatriots Brian Harman and Brooks Koepka and England’s Tommy Fleetwood, with Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed on 4 below.
Lee Westwood, who’s searching for his first main title on the 77th try, was a shot additional again, however defending champion and world primary Dustin Johnson struggled to a three-over-par 75.
Fleetwood had missed the lower in his final two begins, however the 26-year-old from Southport made a great begin with a birdie on his opening gap and added 4 extra in an excellent placing show.
“The course was as receptive as it’s going to be but I never really tried to make a birdie, they just seemed to happen along the way,” stated Fleetwood, who completed second behind Johnson within the WGC-Mexico Championship earlier this season and misplaced in a play-off within the Shenzhen Worldwide in April.
“But towards the end I holed some great putts for par. No matter how fast you start or how many birdies you make the pars are the ones that keep you in it.”
Requested if he would have taken a 67 at the beginning of the day, Fleetwood added: “I wouldn’t have moved. That would have been fine. You don’t really think about shooting five under at the US Open. Seven under is ridiculous.”
Whether or not such low scoring continues stays to be seen, however Curtis Unusual’s place in historical past because the final participant to win back-to-back titles appears to be like secure until Johnson can produce one thing particular.
The 32-year-old carded a double bogey, two bogeys and a solitary birdie in his 75 to lie 10 photographs off the tempo, whereas taking part in associate and 2015 champion Jordan Spieth shot 73.
Johnson solely arrived at Erin Hills on Tuesday afternoon after fiancee Paulina Gretzky gave start to the couple’s second son – named River Jones Johnson – on Monday, however had insisted his earlier follow on the venue meant he was not “behind the eight-ball.”
The day had began with affirmation that Phil Mickelson would miss the US Open for the primary time since 1993 after the nice climate ended his slim possibilities of making a last-minute sprint to Erin Hills.
The 46-year-old must win the US Open, by which he has been runner-up a file six occasions, to finish the profession grand slam, however introduced earlier this month he would probably miss the occasion to attend the high-school commencement of his daughter Amanda.
Solely a prolonged climate delay – and there have been a number of already this week – would have given the five-time main winner an opportunity of being on the ceremony after which flying by non-public jet from California to Wisconsin.
However when play began in excellent circumstances, Mickelson knowledgeable USGA government director Mike Davis he wouldn’t be capable to play and left first alternate Roberto Diaz to take his place, alongside Stewart Cink and Steve Stricker, in a gaggle as a consequence of tee off at 2.20pm native time.
Westwood’s 69 was simply the third time the previous world primary has damaged 70 within the first spherical of the US Open, together with his lowest rating of 67 coming at Oakmont final yr.
“I played great,” the 44-year-old stated. “I missed one fairway, one inexperienced and that was the double bogey. My brief recreation was nice at Wentworth (within the BMW PGA Championship) however my ball-striking is de facto coming again to its finest now and if I preserve going then there is no motive I am unable to be in rivalry on Sunday.
“There’s plenty of room out there, plenty of opportunities. I think it’s very fair. Any course will set up well, though, the way I played. But this course will get progressively trickier, particularly as it dries out.”