Justin Rose fired an opening-day 6-under 65 and will take a one-shot lead into Friday’s second round of the 2019 U.S. Open Championship.
The 38-year old Englishman finished his first day at Pebble Beach Golf Links with one bogey against an eagle and five birdies, highlighted by a closing hat trick on Nos. 16, 17 and 18 to secure the day’s best round of 65.
“Obviously a fun day of golf. I guess the round was going nicely. I was 3-under par, had a rough patch, had to scramble, work hard, keep my round together,” said Rose, who won the U.S. Open in 2013 at Merion.
“Even when I made a mistake, I was willing to accept. I was kind of playing, okay, if you can go back to 2-under — I was trying to stay patient with myself mentally, but kept up-and-downing the ball, kept the momentum up. And then got rewarded with a hot finish, birdieing the last three, took a good round to a great round.
“It’s certainly fun to finish playing that golf hole late at night, around 7:00 at night is when you want to play it. Obviously that’s where you want to be on Sunday. A great start to the week.”
One back was Rickie Fowler, who offset a bogey on the 9th hole with six birdies, including back-to-back gains on Nos. 14 and 15, en route to the day’s silver medal round at 5-under 66.
“It was very stress free. I mean, you still feel I guess uncomfortable or kind of the lines are very tight and you’re still trying to execute, and I think that was a big thing, is we’ve — you never feel just in cruise control at a major, and especially a U.S. Open,” said Fowler, who is widely considered to be the best (active) player without a major title.
“But the execution was very good today. I thought I only missed two greens, but maybe there was a third. So, yeah, it was a good driving day. 13 fairways, like you said, the one I missed I was in the first cut.
“So it was — it felt like the worst I could have shot. So that’s a good thing. I’m happy with the start. You can’t go out and win it up the first day, but you can obviously put yourself in a good position or take yourself out of it and you’re having to fight back. So just happy with sticking to the game plan and executing the shots.”
The 30-year old American star was T2 alongside countrymen Xander Schauffele and Aaron Wise, and South African Louis Oosthuizen.
Scott Piercy got off to a dream start at Pebble Beach, carding three birdies and an eagle on his first six holes to reach 5-under par through six holes, but the 40-year old from Las Vegas played his final 12 holes to 1-over par, and signed for a 4-under 67 to sit T6 with Nate Ashley.
“Anytime you can be under par at the U.S. Open is a good thing,” said Piercy, who has enjoyed a bounce-back season in 2019, highlighted by six top-10s, including four top-5s.
“I got off to kind of a fiery start, which is great, and then tried to hold on there in the middle and tried to make a couple coming in.
“Overall the putter was there, it felt good. The ball-striking needs to be cleaned up a little bit, so I’ll be on the range for a little while.
“But 4-under par the first round of the U.S. Open is — I’ll take that every time.”
After a first-hole bogey, Rory McIlroy reset and played his final 17 holes flawlessly, comprised of 13 pars and four birdies, en route to a 3-under 68. The Northern Irishman was tied for eighth-place along with Ryder Cup teammates Henrik Stenson and Francesco Molinari, among others.
Brooks Koepka carded four birdies on Nos. 1, 3, 5 and 6 to reach 4-under through six holes, but the four-time major winner struggled down the stretch, finishing his final 12 with three bogeys against just one more birdie to sign for a day-one 69, good for a spot in a 12-player logjam at T16.
Tiger Woods, playing alongside Rose, finished his first round with a respectable 1-under par 70 to sit T28, one better than Dustin Johnson, who opened with 71 on Thursday.
2019 U.S. Open Championship
Leaderboard: Top 10
Pos-Player-To Par (Score)
1. Justin Rose -6 (65)
2. Rickie Fowler -5 (66)
2. Xander Schauffele -5 (66)
2. Aaron Wise -5 (66)
2. Louis Oosthuizen -5 (66)
6. Scott Piercy -4 (67)
6. Nate Ashley -4 (67)
8. Henrik Stenson -3 (68)
8. Rory McIlroy -3 (68)
8. Francesco Molinari -3 (68)
8. Gary Woodland -3 (68)
8. Sepp Straka -3 (68)
8. Chez Reavie -3 (68)
8. Chesson Hadley -3 (68)
World Top-10 Ranked
01. Brooks Koepka (-2, T16)
02. Dustin Johnson (E, T40)
03. Rory McIlroy (-3, T8)
04. Justin Rose (-6, 1)
05. Tiger Woods (-1, T28)
06. Francesco Molinari (-3, T8)
07. Justin Thomas (+2, T77)
08. Patrick Cantlay (+1, T58)
09. Bryson DeChambeau (-2, T16)
10. Xander Schauffele (-5, T2)
16: (-2) Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Marc Leishman Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia, Hideki Matsuyama, Matt Kuchar
28: (-1) Jason Day, Adam Scott, Jason Dufner, Tyrrell Hatton, Rafael Carera Bello, Paul Casey
40: (E) Danny Willett, Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed, Haotong Li
58: (+1) Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth
77: (+2) Jim Furyk, Kevin Kisner, Ian Poulter
Justin Rose’s Round-One Stats
Driving: 290.8 yards (116th)
Fairways: 7/14, 50% (119th)
Greens: 9/18, 50% (106th)
Putts: 22/1.22 (1st)
Par-3: -2 (2 Birdies, 2 Pars)
Par-4: -1 (2 Birdies, 8 Pars, 1 Bogey)
Par-5: -3 (1 Eagle, 1 Birdie, 1 Par)
Total: -6 (1 Eagle, 5 Birdies, 11 Pars, 1 Bogey)
Video: Top-10 Shots on Day One at U.S. Open
The USGA has compiled the best shots from the opening round of the 2019 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links, where Justin Rose leads by one shot.
More U.S. Open videos, including highlights and interviews.
What is it like to close out three holes at Pebble Beach in the U.S. Open with three straight birdies?
JUSTIN ROSE: It was amazing. Obviously I had good numbers. I hit my favorite shot of the day was my 7-iron into the 16th hole. The pin was up on the right side. If I was going to hit 7-iron I had to take something off and cut it in there. That was my favorite shot of the day.
17 was a good, solid 4-iron. If I drew it up it was a perfect number. You had to hit left of the hole. The putt rolled in.
18, great tee shot. The 5-wood, I was right between clubs. The way I have my bag set up this week, I have a 5-wood that goes 245, occasionally 250, and my 4-iron, it goes like 217, 218. It’s the one part of my bag where there’s quite a big gap. I was right in between clubs on 18, so I was trying to feather up a little 5-wood.
But I left it in the right spot. You can’t go left. I left it short right. Thought I hit a great bunker shot, it trickled out but made the putt.