Rory McIlroy gets himself into contention with some late-night action, while Bryson DeChambeau just can’t help himself when Brooks Koepka is around. Here’s what happened on day one at Torrey Pines
Morning! Who stayed up to watch the first round of the US Open then? Of course you didn’t, that would be lunacy. Here’s a quick rundown of what you missed at Torrey Pines…
McIlroy sees the light
As if it wasn’t going to be late enough for viewers anywhere east of Torrey Pines, the opening day started with a 90-minute fog delay. (I mean, you wait three-and-a-half weeks for a major and then this!)
As darkness fell over America’s west coast, it led to some crazy scenes as players scrambled to finish their first rounds. In particular, the group of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose on the 17th green.
Once the horn goes, you’re allowed to finish the hole you’ve started. So Rose knocked in a par putt at 17 and raced to 18 to tee off, leaving his playing partners finishing up behind him.
He drilled his tee shot down the last hole – meaning the group would be able to finish – before McIlroy had even lined up his par putt from the fringe. He made it.
Up ahead, the group in front, including Sergio Garcia, could only stand and watch as Rose’s ball sailed past them. The Spaniard turned back to the tee and flung his arms up in disbelief. (You don’t need much lip reading experience to see what he was saying.)
When McIlroy and Johnson finally caught up to Rose, it was essentially pitch black. Rose had found the pond that protects the front of the green – he would save par but, at 7-over, he’s heading home early. Johnson’s appproach found sand – he too would save par but is very much in contention at even par. And McIlroy treated us to that familiar confident bounce up to the green, where he had left himself an eight-footer for birdie.
He drained it, gave a fist pump to those still remaining in the gallery around Torrey’s finisher, and joked that he’s a “better putter in the dark”.
We’ve missed this Rory. Now go and win it.
So who’s leading?
Russell Henley had no such drama. The American plotted his way round for a tidy 4-under 67 to take the clubhouse lead.
Louis Oosthuizen – who else? – is also at 4-under, but the South African will need to come back early Friday to finish a couple of holes.
California resident Francesco Molinari and Rafa Cabrera Bello are at 3-under, while Brooks Koepka – who else? – leads a large pack that also includes Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele, and Jon Rahm.
Alongside McIlroy at 1-under is English trio Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, and Richard Bland – playing in just his fourth major in more than 20 years on tour thanks to that emotional win at the British Masters a few weeks ago.
Speaking of emotional wins, Marcus Armitage’s triumph in Germany last week earned him a spot at Torrey Pines – and he’s made the most of it with a solid even-par 71. Also in on the number are Garcia, Robert MacIntyre, Paul Casey, and newlywed Lee Westwood.
He just had to do it, didn’t he?
While Brooks Koepka was giving a post-round interview, late starter and defending champion Bryson DeChambeau couldn’t resist making himself known…
Still, gives us an excuse to watch the hilarious clip that started this all off at the PGA Championship…
The day didn’t end quite as well for the defending champion, though. While he led the field with his driver and putter, his irons deserted him and a 2-over 73 left him with a lot of work to do – most of which he started immediately on the range in the pitch black…
The craziest scorecard
Matt Wolff burst onto the scene last year but has been struggling in recent months. And he certainly had a fun opening day at Torrey Pines.
The youngster rolled in eight birdies, five pars, three bogeys and two double bogeys for a 1-under 70.
If ever a scorecard summed up a player’s career…
Grand Slam watch
A disappointing 75 for PGA champion Phil Mickelson.
It’s going to need something special on Friday.
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