An avid fan of Georgia Bulldogs and golf once said, “the USGA decides it’s time to smite everyone with the temerity to break par.” And apparently they had circled Thursday on their calendars.
How about these stats:
- The field of 156 golfers was a collective 984 over par in Round 1 (nine hundred eighty-four).
- 193 double bogeys recorded (or worse)
- 6 of the world’s top 10 shot 75 or worse, and combined for 52 over par.
- World #4 Jordan Spieth shot 78, #5 Jon Rahm shot 78, #6 Rory McIlroy shot 80
- Only 4 players broke par, and 69 was the low round of the day
- 28 players shot 80 or worse, and one pro shot 92 (Scott Gregory of England)
Shinnecock is hard. Playing golf in the wind is hard. US Open set ups are notoriously hard. So hold the US Open at Shinnecock in sustained 15-20 mph winds with gusts 25+, and it is going to be a long day. There is debate about the fairness of the pin positions given the windy forecast (which turned out spot-on). But let’s be honest... it was never going to be easy and playing golf in such blustery conditions will always jack up the scores and make even the stoutest nerve quake and tremble.
You know who didn’t find it hard to score well? Former UGA Bulldog Russell Henley. The new father from Macon (and soon to be Columbus resident is what I heard) carded a tidy 69 and that includes 3 missed putts under 4 feet. Two holes over par combined with 3 birdies and an eagle will almost always put you at the top of the leaderboard during a US Open. Henley tees off Friday at 12:52 pm at the beginning of the afternoon wave.
Brian Harman’s day didn’t look good after bogeying 6 straight holes, but he straightened it out on his second nine and fought for a 4 over par 74, good for T-37. He starts at 7:29 am Friday.
Bubba Watson had only one birdie, but had two double bogeys. His 77 is near the middle of the pack and T-88. His Friday begins early at 7:40 am.
Kevin Kisner’s scorecard was nearly identical to Bubba, and he’s tied with him in 88th place. He hopes to shoot a score in the 60’s Friday to make the cut and starts that quest at 1:58 pm.
TV coverage remains pretty much the same: Fox Sports 1 (FS1) from 9:30 am ET to 4:30 pm, when they kick it on over to big Fox which will cover until 7:30 pm or the last group finishes. There is pretty good live streaming of featured groups and featured holes available at usopen.com.
And since I made it all the way to the end of the article, I’ll kill the suspense and tell you that Phil Mickelson shot 77, and Tiger Woods scored a 78. Both players need to be at par and have the field come back to them in order to make the cut and play the weekend.
And as always...