Pro Golf Weekly

2018 U.S. Open: DJ Co-Leads After Round One

With winds gusting up to 32 mph, an already difficult Shinnecock Hills became nearly unplayable for round one of the 118th U.S. Open as just four players finished under-par – and just barely.

Credit: Getty Images/Mike Ehrmann

After day one on Long Island, Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, Scott Piercy and Russell Henley share the lead at 1-under par 69, one clear of Jason Dufner, who sits alone in fifth-place at even-par 70.

Johnson, who won the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, finished his first day at Shinnecock with four birdies against three bogeys. At one point the World No. 1 was 3 under, but bogeys on Nos. 12 and 14 dropped him back into the group at 69. The 33-year old is seeking to become the first player to win a U.S. Open off a Tour win the previous week.

“I mean, obviously, coming off a win, you’ve got a lot of confidence. I feel like I’ve been playing really solid all year, just haven’t really been getting a lot out of my rounds,” said Johnson, who owns two wins on the 2018 season.

“I felt like, you know, last year, I did play well and, you know, scored well. That’s what I did today. I feel like I scored really well.”

Piercy, a first alternate out of the Memphis qualifier, was a late addition to the field on Monday, but he took full advantage of the last-minute opportunity and posted a first-round score comprised of just two bogeys sandwiched between three birdies.

Joining Piercy and DJ atop the leaderboard was Poulter, who turned around his career after nearly losing his card last season, culminating with a win in Houston. The 42-year old Englishman was the only player in the field to make it through a full side without at least a bogey. He finished hole Nos. 1-9 in 2-under 33 with a pair of gains and no bogeys.

“My game’s good. I feel confident. I feel happy. I feel happy off the golf course. And it makes that a lot easier on the golf course,” said Poulter, who hit 12 of 18 greens and 11 of 14 fairways.

“So I’m in a really good, good place. I don’t want to get carried away. This is day one of four extremely tough days, and three bad holes on this golf course can take you home pretty quick.”

Credit: Getty Images/Ross Kinnaird

Finally, Henley one-upped Poutler’s front-nine score, as the 29-year old Georgia native signed for a 3-under 32, overcoming an early bogey with a three-hole stretch (Nos. 5, 7 and 8) of eagle-par-birdie-birdie to join the lead group.

Behind the four leaders was Dufner who was the only other player in the 156-player field who posted even-par or better. The 41-year old former PGA winner posted a round of four birdies against four bogeys to sign for an even-par 70.

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson headline the group of five players one further back at 1-over 71. Rose, as usual, was deadly accurate, leading the field in fairways (13 of 14) and finishing T4 (12 of 18) in greens-hit. Unfortunately three of the greens he missed resulted in bogeys, as the Englishman struggled scrambling.

“Holes like 18, you could almost hit 3 wood today, but I hit driver and ended up going with gap wedge, so it made second shots much easier. No. 3 was another hole that I was between 3 wood/driver but split the fairway with driver, and that made the hole much easier than it could have been,” said Rose.

“The fact I hit 13 out of 14 fairways made the course playable. At least have looks at birdies with some decent irons.”

Credit: Getty Images/Warren Little

Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler lead a group of 18 players two further back at 3-over 73 and T19. Reed is seeking to become the seventh player in history to win the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year. (Jordan Spieth (2015) was the last to do so.)

World No. 2 Justin Thomas was the marquee name among those at 4-over 74. Other big names sitting alongside Thomas at T37 were Matt Kuchar, Marc Leishman, and Louis Oosthusizen. Amateur Matt Parziale was also at 74. The firefighter out of Brockton, Massachusetts sat behind only Luis Gagne (73) and Will Grimmer (73) among amateurs in the field.

A logjam at 75 included five top-20 ranked players including defending champion Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, and Francesco Molinari.

Tiger Woods, who played with Thomas and Johnson, posted a 78.

Jason Day hit just 7 of 14 fairways (T142) and 6 of 18 greens (T128) on his way to a 9-over 79, matching his worst round in a U.S. Open (2017, Round 1).

The marquee group of Phil Mickelson (77), Spieth (78) and Rory McIlroy (80) finished 25-over par, collectively.


TOP 10

1. Scott Piercy -1 (69)
1. Ian Poulter -1 (69)
1. Russell Henley -1 (69)
1. Dustin Johnson -1 (69)
5. Jason Dufner E
6. Matthieu Pavon +1
6. Justin Rose +1
6. Charles Howell III +1
6. Charley Hoffman +1
6. Sam Burns +1
6. Henrik Stenson +1
6. Byeong Hun An +1


NOTABLES

13. Alex Noren +2
19. Rickie Fowler +3
19. Zach Johnson +3
19. Paul Casey +3
19. Patrick Reed +3
19. Rafael Cabrero-Bello +3
19. Jim Furyk +3
19. Steve Stricker +3
37. Justin Thomas +4
37. Matt Kuchar +4
37. Marc Leishman +4
46. Jimmy Walker +5
46. Sergio Garcia +5
46. Patrick Cantlay +5
46. Tommy Fleetwood +5
46. Brooks Koepka +5
46. Hideki Matsuyama +5
46. Francesco Molinari +5
66. Branden Grace +6
66. Bryson DeChambeau +6
66. Webb Simpson +6
88. Kevin Kisner +7
88. Bubba Watson +7
88. Phil Mickelson +7
101. Jordan Spieth +8
101. Jon Rahm +8
101. Tiger Woods +8
101. Adam Scott +8
101. Ernie Els +8
114. Charl Schwartzel +9
114. Haotong Li +9
114. Kenny Perry +9
114. Graeme McDowell +9
114. Jason Day +9
128. Rory McIlroy +10
148. Martin Kaymer +13


WORLD TOP-20

No. 1 Dustin Johnson -1 (T1)
No. 2 Justin Thomas +4 (T37)
No. 3 Justin Rose +1 (T6)
No. 4 Jordan Spieth +8 (T101)
No. 5 Jon Rahm +8 (T101)
No. 6 Rory McIlroy +10 (T128)
No. 7 Rickie Fowler +3 (T19)
No. 8 Jason Day +9 (T114)
No. 9 Brooks Koepka +5 (T46)
No. 10 Hideki Matsuyama +5 (T46)
No. 11 Paul Casey +3 (T19)
No. 12 Tommy Fleetwood +5 (T46)
No. 13 Patrick Reed +3 (T19)
No. 14 Marc Leishman +4 (T37)
No. 15 Sergio Garcia +5 (T46)
No. 16 Alex Noren +2 (T13)
No. 17 Henrik Stenson +1 (T6)
No. 18 Francesco Molinari +5 (T46)
No. 19 Bubba Watson +7 (T88)
No. 20 Phil Mickelson +7 (T88)


STAT LEADERS

DRIVING
1. Peter Uihlein – 333.8 (T46)
2. Ryan Fox – 332.2 (T19)
3. Danny Willett – 330.8 (T46)

FAIRWAYS
1. Russell Henley – 13/14 93% (T1)
1. Jason Dufner – 13/14 93% (5)
1. Justin Rose – 13/14 93% (T6)
1. Matthew Fitzpatrick – 13/14 93% (T19)
1. Matt Parziale – 13/14 93% (T37)
1. Brian Harman – 13/14 93% (T37)
1. Jimmy Walker – 13/14 93% (T46)
1. Sungjae IM – 13/14 93% (T66)
1. Tim Wilkinson – 13/14 93% (T66)
1. Ross Fisher – 13/14 93% (T66)
1. Phil Mickelson – 13/14 93% (T88)
1. Satoshi Kodaira – 13/14 93% (T134)

GREENS
1. Henrik Stenson – 14/18 78% (T6)
2. Brendan Steele – 13/18 72% (T13)
3. Shane Lowry – 13/14 72% (T46)

PUTTS
1. Matthieu Pavon – 25.00, 1.39 (T6)
1. Eric Axley- 25.00, 1.39 (T19)
3. Scott Piercy – 26.00, 1.44 (T1)
3. Dustin Johnson – 26.00, 1.44 (T1)
3. Sam Burns – 26.00, 1.44 (T6)
3. Danny Willett – 26.00, 1.44 (T46)
3. Richy Werenski – 26.00, 1.44 (T66)

LOW FRONT NINE
(32) Russell Henley

LOW BACK NINE
(34) Sam Burns, Charley Hoffman, Scott Piercy


VIDEO: SHOT OF THE DAY


QUOTABLES

“I’m very pleased with the round. Anything under par on this golf course is very good, especially in the conditions we have today. I felt like, you know, from start to finish, it was very difficult. You had to focus on every single shot you hit, putts, everything. You know, it was just difficult all day.”
– Dustin Johnson

“Honestly, I hit the ball probably the best in my life at Oakmont. Yesterday, I walked off the golf course after four holes because I was so frustrated with my preparation. So it’s hard to say, like, you know, I didn’t really expect this this morning. Just kind of regrouped last night, tried to go back to a couple things that have worked throughout the year. I was able to kind of piece it together again.”
– Scott Piercy

“Obviously felt pretty good. U.S. Open Golf hasn’t been good for me through the years. It’s the first one I’ve played in three years, and this is the first one I ever played back in ’04. So to come here and enjoy the first round is really quite nice.”
– Ian Poulter

“I feel good. I also know I’ve got a lot of golf to play, but I do feel good about my name. I’ve beaten all these guys before. I’ve won out here on Tour. Haven’t won a Major yet. But I believe in my game, and I just try to stay patient.”
– Russell Henley

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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