Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele set record-breaking pace at US Open

Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele both equalled the lowest score in men’s major championship history with stunning rounds of 62 on the opening day of the 123rd US Open.

Fowler took advantage of ideal conditions for the early starters to fire 10 birdies and two bogeys at Los Angeles Country Club, matching the mark set by Branden Grace in the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

It is also the lowest score ever recorded in a US Open, England’s Tommy Fleetwood making the most recent of the six previous 63s in the final round in 2018.

But remarkably Fowler held that distinction on his own for just 30 minutes as Schauffele, playing two groups behind, carded eight birdies in a bogey-free 62 of his own.

Starting on the back nine of the North Course, Fowler carded five birdies, two bogeys and just two pars to reach the turn in 32, before picking up another shot on the par-five first.

The 34-year-old also birdied the second and third and was agonisingly close to a fifth birdie in a row as a superb recovery from a greenside bunker on the fourth stopped millimetres short of the hole.

Birdies on the sixth and eighth – the latter despite having driven into the barranca to the right of the fairway – took Fowler to eight under par and he safely two-putted the ninth from long range to secure his place in the record books

Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler equalled the lowest round in men’s major championship history with a 62 in the US Open (George Walker IV/AP).

The California native has recorded eight top-five finishes in the majors, including in all four 2014, and was runner-up to Patrick Reed in the 2018 Masters following weekend rounds of 65 and 67 at Augusta National.

He had failed to qualify for the last two US Opens as a loss of form saw him tumble to 185th in the world rankings, but he came into the week on the back of successive top 10s on the PGA Tour and ranked 45th.

“It was a great day,” Fowler said. “I got off to a nice start making a three on 10, but never really thought about a score out there.

“The first few days this week I was not feeling very comfortable or making many putts but I kept working on the range and finally a couple of things clicked a bit yesterday (Wednesday).

“Then it was just a case of going out there and trusting it and letting things happen.”

Schauffele, who has never finished worse than 14th in six previous US Open appearances, also started on the back nine and picked up shots on the 10th, 12th and 14th before storming home in 30, aided by a birdie from 60 feet on the fifth.