November 19 2017

'One of those days' as McIlroy finds trouble in Erin Hills rough

November 19 2017, 12:53 | Sammy Rose

Meanwhile, Day lamented his poor showing around Erin Hills, especially given his meticulous preparation.

While most of the coverage focuses on the length of Erin Hills, this year's U.S. Open venue, the most fun hole to watch on the course may be its shortest.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson is 40/1, while other pre-tournament favorites Rory McIlroy and Jason Day have some big work ahead of them if they hope to make the cut, let alone win. Day's opening round included a triple-bogey on the Par-4, 451-yard fourth hole.

And ask Edgerton native Steve Stricker, who cruised to a birdie-birdie start to energize a giant contingent of in-state fans only to scrap and claw his way to a first-round 73.

"You don't often see that in a U.S. Open", Hadwin told reporters. Mickelson, who has six U.S. Open runner-up finishes, had appeared in 23 straight Open Championships dating back to 1994.

"The first thing is getting off to a good start Thursday, keeping that rolling and getting ourselves in contention Sunday", said Fowler, who was just one shot out of the lead heading into the final round of the Masters before falling back with a 76.

"Simple day when you look back on it".

The wind and roll on this course, however, aren't necessarily making it play that long. It was sporadic storms earlier in the week that has softened the greens.

Fowler shot a -7 (65), tying the record for the lowest score to par in the opening round of the U.S. Open. The previous record for most sub-par rounds in the first round of the tournament was 39, set in 1990 at Medinah Country Club.

A statement from the US Golf Association confirming details of the crash said the blimp was not affiliated with the tournament or the US Open broadcast. To me, bad shots should get punished, medium shots should have an opportunity to get your ball up and done, and good shots should be rewarded.

One shot off of Fowler's lead is Xander Schauffele and Paul Casey, two shots back sit Brooks Koepka, Brian Harman, and Tommy Fleetwood. They got a kick out of it.

He was, at that point, four shots from Rickie Fowler who had by then already finished his round but a superb approach to 7 feet at the 10th led to another birdie and he was just three from the lead.

Yet McIlroy was over par.

Hideki Matsuyama and Chez Reavie both shot the rounds of the day, posting seven-under 65s to move to five and four under respectively.

Nowhere was this more evident than on the par five first hole, McIlroy's 10th of his second round, where the Northern Irishman elected to putt from just off the front of the green but would have that Spider Red - in his bag for the first time - in his hands for four successive putts: one putt onto the actually green; then, from eight feet; then, five feet; and, finally, from two feet - into the hole. He said he considers it a compliment when people think he is the best to never have won a major (after Sergio Garcia's Masters victory).

And then there was Stricker.

However, after dropping another shot on the 15th, Casey regained his composure superbly to birdie the 17th and 18th, the latter being the second longest hole in major history at 676 yards.

Erin Hills may have been easy-as-can-be Thursday. "I hit the fairway on the 10th", McIlroy said, "and I didn't hit one on the way in".

They loved every up-and-down for par, and Stricker needed a bunch of them. But he missed his first cut at a major since the 2012 PGA Championship.

Which is probably the way it should be. Despite the breezy nature of the post-round interview, on the course, Fowler displayed a narrow-eyed determination and poker-faced stoicism.

Halfway through the opening round, I was thinking that I had seen the same scenario too many times before.

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