US Open day one: Rory McIlroy off to fast start as Justin Thomas takes the lead
Two days after stressing the need for a fast start in his pursuit of a fifth major title, Rory McIlroy’s prayers were answered on day one of the 120th US
Open at a surprisingly benign Winged Foot.
Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy shot five over par to win the last US Open at the
venue in 2006, while American Hale Irwin was seven over in surviving the
so-called “Massacre at Winged Foot” in 1974.
However, on a day when 21 players broke par, McIlroy’s 67 left him two shots off the lead held by Justin Thomas, with McIlroy’s former Ryder Cup partner – and fellow new father – Thomas Pieters alongside Matthew Wolff and Patrick Reed on four under par.
Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen were alongside McIlroy on three under, but world number one and FedEx Cup winner Dustin Johnson struggled to a 73.
Tweet of the day
Matt Fitzpatrick struggled to an opening 74, but still had the last word after receiving some abuse on social media following an earlier post by his caddie Billy Foster.
Quote of the day
Phil Mickelson’s approach to the ninth was so far off target it ended up on the first tee – and he was not impressed on his way to a dismal 79.
Shot of the day
Patrick Reed was two over par after five holes, but birdied the sixth and then made a spectacular hole-in-one on the seventh.
Round of the day
Justin Thomas carded six birdies and one bogey in his opening 65, the lowest score in any US Open at Winged Foot.
Statistic of the day
Unsurprisingly, the par-five ninth was the easiest hole on the course and played to an average of 4.639 with 56 birdies and two eagles.
The 498-yard par-four 16th was the toughest, playing to an average of 4.340 and yielding just seven birdies.
On the up
The chances of some firmer greens and tougher pin positions after 21 players broke par on the opening day; only Colin Montgomerie did so in 2006.
On the slide
Phil Mickelson’s increasingly slim chances of winning the US Open to complete a career grand slam. The 50-year-old slumped to an opening 79.
Defiant Lee Westwood does not believe playing in LIV should harm Ryder Cup hopes
Westwood doesn’t agree with penalties and sanctions.
Shane Lowry welcomes closer ties between Tours in response to threat from LIV
The PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced the next phase of their strategic alliance.
Padraig Harrington fears LIV series poses threat to future of DP World Tour
The US Senior Open champion thinks there is only room for the PGA and one other tour in the world game.
Steve Stricker makes Padraig Harrington sweat as Irishman wins US Senior Open
The pair were rival captains in last year’s Ryder Cup in Wisconsin.
Golfers warned of further sanctions if they continue to play in LIV breakaway
The DP World Tour has issued fines of £100,000 and tournament bans to its members who played in the inaugural LIV Golf event earlier this month
DP World Tour hits members who played inaugural LIV series with £100,000 fines
They have also been banned from several forthcoming tournaments including the Scottish Open.
Rory McIlroy not impressed as Brooks Koepka becomes latest big name to join LIV
The world number two labelled the players who have joined the new series as “duplicitous” for the way they have handled their breakaway.
R&A confirms LIV Golf Series players will be allowed to compete at Open
The 150th Open Championship will get underway at St Andrews in three weeks’ time.
Matt Fitzpatrick turns to other major winners for advice on dealing with fame
Fitzpatrick won the US Open on Sunday.
Brooks Koepka set to join Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series
Koepka’s brother Chase played in the opening event at Centurion Club earlier this month.