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The world’s best are off and running at the 122nd U.S. Open as big names have shot out of the gates at The Country Club. It began early Thursday with Rory McIlroy vaulting to the top of the leaderboard with a nearly flawless 3-under 67 effort. Dropping a shot late in his round, McIlroy would later be matched by by Joel Dahmen, MJ Daffue and a pair of European counterparts at 3 under.
“You’d take 67 around this golf course any day,” said McIlroy. “Even though I’m standing up here slightly frustrated that I bogeyed the last, it’s a great start to the tournament. I felt like I did most things well today. I certainly putted well, and I hit the ball in the right spots, and I hit a lot of greens, gave myself plenty of chances. Just basically did everything that you need to do at a U.S. Open.”
However, that entire group would be surpassed by Adam Hadwin, who turned in the round of the day with a 4-under 66 in the afternoon. The Canadian is in the midst of a sneaky strong season, which at one point included three consecutive top-10 finishes but has yet to taste contention in a major championship.
Hadwin has his work cut out for him the rest of the way as suitable chasers are lining up at the door. Defending champion Jon Rahm, PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and two-time major title-holder Collin Morikawa are all only three strokes back at 1 under, and they will look to ascend up the leaderboard in Friday’s second round.
There is still plenty of action to touch on, and that is exactly what we plan to do here as we break down the top of the Round 1 leaderboard at the 122nd U.S. Open.
1. Adam Hadwin (-4): The Canadian made his way into this week’s field when Paul Casey withdrew due to injury. Gaining entry as an alternate in sectional qualifying, Hadwin hardly looked like one on Thursday as all facets of his game were in sync. Leading the field in strokes gained tee to green, there is still room for improvement as the 34-year-old ranked 60th in strokes gained putting in Round 1. That should draw fear into the eyes of his chasers, but still, it is not as if he has been in this position often as his career best finish in a major championship is T24 at the 2018 Masters. He has enjoyed a nice 2022 season which included a T9 at the Players Championship, but the next three days will be a whole different animal.
T2. Rory McIlroy, Joel Dahmen, Callum Tarren, M.J. Daffue and David Lingmerth (-3): Ever since his final round at the 2022 Masters, McIlroy, the four-time major champion, has been rolling. He continued his fine play Thursday at The Country Club, but it was not without some head scratching moments. Posting more than four strokes gained putting, the Northern Irishman put together the third best performance with the flat stick in hand of his PGA Tour career. Strong off the tee and quite proficient with his irons, it was around the green where he fell short.
Kyle Porter called McIlroy’s around the green game “underrated,” and I tend to agree as he ranks fourth in said category on the year and ahead of names like Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith and Patrick Reed, yet he is rarely mentioned in the same breath. He will need this area of the bag to rebound as he has had some trouble backing up one great round with another.
T7. Matt Fitzpatrick, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and four others (-2): Nine years later and the 2013 U.S. Amateur did not miss a beat as Fitzpatrick looked extremely at ease during his first round at The Country Club. Ranking 10th in strokes gained tee to green, the Englishman continued to thrive off the tee and was able to hide an extremely loose iron performance thanks to a strong short game effort. He has been knocking on the door for what seems like an eternity and on paper the 2022 version of Fitzpatrick is different. Having been in the final pairing at the 2022 PGA Championship, it is possible the heartache from Southern Hills leads to jubilation in Brookline.
T14. Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris, Justin Thomas, Max Homa and seven others (-1): Plenty of big hitters check in at this number and are still firmly in contention. Homa is of considerable interest based on his iron performance as he put together the best approach numbers of his career on Thursday having gained nearly 4.5 strokes on approach. Perhaps we should be encouraged by this or perhaps we should be encouraged by the likes of Rahm and Zalatoris not having their “A” game yet still signing for under-par rounds. However, a handful of these players may make a move Friday, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them is raising the U.S. Open trophy come Sunday.
Rick Gehman, Kyle Porter and Greg DuCharme recap Thursday’s action at The Country Club. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
T26. Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, Daniel Berger, Scottie Scheffler and 12 others (E): World No. 1 Scheffler finished birdie-birdie to get back to even par; however, there is another American worth highlighting. Schauffele hit only 50% of the fairways and was still able to get in the house at even par, which seems like a heist. It felt as if he was all over the place Thursday as he carded four birdies to offset four bogeys. In his five U.S. Open appearances, he has five top-10 finishes; however, he has yet to truly contend as his average deficit entering the final round has been 5.4 strokes. A big round Friday afternoon could give him a realistic opportunity to be within reach heading into the weekend.
T42. Joaquin Niemann, Sam Burns, Bryson DeChambeau, Corey Conners and eight others (+1): After an eagle on the par-5 eighth, it appeared that Niemann would threaten the first page of the leaderboard as he stood at 2 under for the day. With three bogeys in his final four holes, the young Chilean is not out of this championship, but the mountain is certainly steeper than what it could have been. Some strong names are alongside Niemann, and after rounds of 1 over, they have little room for error over the next 54 holes.
T57. Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Young and 19 others (+2): It was a typical Spieth round as he began his day with three bogeys in his first four holes and had to claw his way back to 2 over. He remains less than 100% healthy, but all things considered, I would take Thursday’s effort as a small victory as he ranked inside the top 10 on approach shots. Despite the short game being less than stellar, he is only six strokes off the pace. While Young was in a similar spot as Spieth from a statistical standpoint, Cantlay was not as his iron play was simply dreadful. If he is to somehow flip the narrative on his major championship woes, those clubs will need to get going as he was solid both off the tee and on the greens.
The Canadian will have a quick turn around after capturing the solo lead after the first round of the 122nd U.S. Open. Hadwin played in the more difficult afternoon wave and was exquisite in the wind at The Country Club. Despite the slim margin, there are a number of superstars not far behind including Rory McIlroy at 3 under.
Matt Fitzpatrick opening rounds in the 60s in majors
First 27 starts: 2
Last 2 starts: 2
Opening round 68 (-2) today
One of Golf’s Most Connected Amateurs Has Much to Say on LIV Golf and None of It Positive https://t.co/1P9gHJd6gS via @Rosenberg_Mike
The 15 LIV boys are, incredibly, LIV over par right now.
The 15 LIV boys are, incredibly, LIV over par right now.
Fluff’s mustache is outrageous. It almost obscures his chin! pic.twitter.com/oFfJ2NcK5h
PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas, seeking a second consecutive win in a major in as many appearances, off to a great start this week at the U.S. Open with a 1-under 69 in Round 1. Gained nearly three strokes on the field on approach and more than a stroke on the field with his putter. Uncharacteristically hit-or-miss off the tees today, but to be expected given how many blind shots are out there at this track.
Last Canadian player to lead outright after any @usopengolf round: Mike Weir, 1st round in 2009.
Adam Hadwin ???????? currently leads by 1
They may be three strokes behind Adam Hadwin, who has reached 4 under once again, but man, it is a gathering of big names at 1 under. Rahm, Zalatoris, Thomas, Homa, Morikawa, Scott, and Johnson, just to name a few. Regardless of the overnight lead, the chasing pack is taking on a strong look.
With Adam Hadwin dropping a shot, there are now seven players tied for the lead at 3 under. It will be interesting if anyone is able to push ahead and command the spot atop the leaderboard by themselves. For my money, Justin Rose at 2 under may very well be that man as he still has a reachable par 4 and par 5 coming up.
PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas is channeling his major-championship winning energy early at The Country Club. He’s 2 under on the round today, which is two off the leader’s pace for right now.
Mito Pereira and Matt Fitzpatrick, who were in the final grouping Sunday at the PGA, are also having solid rounds. Pereira is 1 under through 14 and Fitzpatrick, who just birdied the par-4 12th with a chip-in, is 3 under and one off the lead.
The newly minted 52-year-old is 7 over through his first 12 holes. It was always going to be a big ask for Mickelson as he has simply not played a lot in 2022. He currently sits in a tie for 142nd.
Phil Mickelson is currently beating two amateurs at the U.S. Open and losing to 11 of them.
Rory McIlroy’s 67 today was the 13th of his career at @usopengolf – it ties Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia for most all-time at the U.S. Open by a European player.
Matt Fitzpatrick has improved this season over last in every strokes gained statistic. Biggest jump in terms of ranking has come on shots around the green (up 79 spots from 2020-21).
Loved this from Joel Dahmen, who shot 67 today: “I’ve gotten to play with Spieth in the final round close to the lead twice this year … I love that stuff. I love being in that situation. I love being nervous. I love my hands shaking. That’s why we play the game.”
Canadian Adam Hadwin has reached 4 under after making birdies on five of his final six holes to close out his front nine. The inward half is playing as the more difficult side today, but if able to come home in even par, he will most likely command the solo lead.
Matt Fitzpatrick turns in 3-under 33 after an impressive birdie on the par-4 ninth. Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Amateur at The Country Club and looks to become the 13th man in history to complete the American-double.
Normal sport. pic.twitter.com/Oa29UIYo86
Normal sport. pic.twitter.com/Oa29UIYo86
For months, Rory has been carrying around the weight of a sport he never asked to lead. Now he wants another U.S. Open trophy for himself. https://t.co/WiJsmpYlIx
More from Brookline. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by the merch tent on 14. We’ll be here through Sunday! #usopen pic.twitter.com/S3zlTD7DQC
Webb Simpson eagles 8 to get on the early leaderboard. Quietly has really fallen off recently: this month dropped outside the OWGR top 50 for the first time since 2017 after being ranked as high as 4th in the world in August 2020.
Justin Rose made the first par of his round on the 7th hole (3 birdies, 3 bogeys).
Going back to last week, that’s 2 pars in his last 17 holes played. Alerting @shanebacon
The afternoon wave is playing considerably harder, but the trio mentioned above are all at 1 under. It is great to see English playing well as he underwent hip surgery during the spring and this is only his second tournament since his return. He missed the cut a couple weeks ago at the Memorial in his first competitive outing.
“Uncle Dale only came to family Christmas once” – @edsbs https://t.co/gA6KtEsOWZ
The bad news for Phil: He’s +5 thru 6 holes and on his way out of town.
The good news for Phil: The tour he plays on doesn’t require good golf at all.
Gary Woodland and Bryson DeChambeau are both 1 under in the early goings of their rounds. It is welcomed sight for the 2020 champion as DeChambeau has battled injury for most of this year and has only played at the Memorial in recent memory.
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