Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Patrick Cantlay’s epic Thursday, Ludvig Aberg makes a run at the 2024 U.S. Open

By admin Jun16,2024

The 124th U.S. Open teed off Thursday morning, and on a tough course like Pinehurst No. 2, it’s reasonable to expect competitors to raise their games. We have all of the best action from the first round of the 2024 tournament in North Carolina right here.

Scheffler in uncharted territory

World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler doesn’t look like himself — and I’m not talking about the close-cropped haircut he showed up with at the first tee. Scheffler is 2 over par after carding his third bogey on the par-4 16th. He has just one birdie on No. 7. Coming in to today, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, Scheffler had the lowest opening-round scoring average (69.2) in major championship history among players with at least 10 rounds. He was also first in that statistic (67.8) on the PGA Tour this season. The last time Scheffler was over par in the first round of a major was the 2022 PGA Championship — the last time he missed the cut in one. — Schlabach

The last time Scottie Scheffler was over par in the first round of a major was the 2022 PGA Championship. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Capan is money in the bank

Jackson Suber isn’t the only qualifier making noise in the first round of the 124th U.S. Open. Frankie Capan III, who was medalist in final qualifying at Duke University Golf Club, is also tied for sixth at 2 under after making a birdie on No. 1. According to the PGA Tour, Capan’s father was one of the early leaders in getting ATMs outside banks in the 1990s. Capan has been pulling cash on the Korn Ferry Tour this season with six top-25s in 12 starts, including a runner-up at the Visit Knoxville Open. Capan and Ben Wong also won the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Pinehurst No. 2, so he’s familiar with the course. — Schlabach

The champ returns

He’s back. Martin Kaymer, the 2014 runaway winner of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst is making his return to the No. 2 course, and it has taken him no time to find his comfort zone. Kaymer birdied the 13th hole, putting him at 2 under and in a tie for sixth place. Earlier this week, Kaymer said he felt like this version of Pinehurst is much tougher than the one he won on by 8 shots 10 years ago, but if there’s any residual experience and familiarity, it appears Kaymer is using it. — Uggetti

Suber seizes the moment

Jackson Suber, the final qualifying alternate who got into the field when Jon Rahm pulled out Tuesday because of a left foot injury, is making the most of his unexpected opportunity. The former Ole Miss golfer made his second birdie on the par-4 13th hole to move into a tie for sixth at 2 under with five holes to play. Suber, 24, has never made the cut in a PGA Tour event, missing twice. He has earned about $365,000 on the Korn Ferry Tour the past two seasons and about $7,000 on PGA Tour Canada. Needless to say, if Suber somehow keeps it up, he’ll make a lot more this weekend. — Schlabach

Hatton cracks a smile after birdie

He is playing on the LIV Tour now, but the cantankerous Tyrrell Hatton hasn’t changed much. On the 213-yard par-3 17th hole, Hatton dropped his club immediately upon impact, then hit it with his feet before looking up and seeing that his ball had landed on the green just a few feet from the pin. The ensuing birdie putt dropped, and Hatton, now at 1 under par for the tournament, couldn’t help but smile. — Uggetti

Finau back in the mix

Between the 2018 Masters and 2021 PGA Championship, Tony Finau finished in the top 10 in nine of 13 starts in major championships. He was a top-10 lock. In the past 12 starts since then, Finau doesn’t have a finish better than a tie for 15th. Finau is right back in the mix again after carding a 2-under 68 in the first round Thursday. It would be the 34th time since the start of 2015 that Finau was in the top 10 at the end of a round in a major, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Only Rory McIlroy (52) and Justin Rose (49) have more such rounds during that stretch. — Schlabach

Tough start for Lefty

It was a first round to forget for LIV Golf League captain Phil Mickelson on Thursday at the Pinehurst No. 2. A six-time U.S. Open runner-up, Mickelson carded a 9-over 79, which was tied for second worst among golfers in the early wave. Mickelson made nine bogeys — including on each of the first four holes — without a birdie. He hit only six of 14 fairways off the tee and three of 18 greens. “Lefty” is now 29 over in his past 11 rounds at Pinehurst No. 2. The silver lining for Mickelson: It seems that he’ll probably be home for his 54th birthday on Sunday. — Schlabach

Rory’s got the touch

After sending his drive into the native areas on the par-5 fifth hole and failing to lay up into the fairway, Rory McIlroy’s approach shot landed on the green and rolled off. No problem. The four-time major winner’s chip had the perfect touch and dropped into the hole for his second birdie of the day, putting him 2 under through five holes.

Cantlay flirts with history

For a golfer that has been considered one of the most talented in the world the past few seasons, Patrick Cantlay’s record in major championships hasn’t been stellar. The eight-time PGA Tour winner has 14 top-25 finishes in 29 starts but finished in the top five only once — a tie for third in the 2019 PGA Championship. On Thursday, Cantlay was the early clubhouse leader with a 5 under 65, thanks to accurate iron play and a deft short game. According to data from ESPN Stats & Information, Cantlay has never been inside the top five at the end of an opening round of a major. He has also never led or co-led in any major round. — Schlabach

Aberg makes a run

At this point, we probably shouldn’t be surprised by anything Sweden’s Ludvig Åberg does on the golf course. After finishing second in his first Masters appearance in April, Aberg carded a 4 under 66 on Thursday, his debut round in a U.S. Open. He’s 1 stroke behind leader Patrick Cantlay. Aberg is the seventh player in U.S. Open history to post a 66 or better in his first round in the U.S. Open; Matthew Wolff was the most recent with a 4 under 66 at Winged Foot in 2020. — Schlabach

Rahm watching from home

Jon Rahm may be out of the U.S. Open with a foot infection, but he’s still keeping tabs on his colleagues.

Shipley making waves

Remember Neal Shipley, the low amateur at the Masters in April? The Ohio State golfer is back on the leaderboard at a major at 2 under after 12 holes. The “Ship” drained an 18½-footer for birdie on No. 1 and a 33½-footer on the par-4 12th to move into a tie for fourth. It’s a good thing Woods isn’t playing him again today; Shipley, runner-up in the 2023 U.S. Amateur, beat Tiger by 4 shots in a Sunday pairing at Augusta National. — Schlabach

Tiger bounces back

Tiger picked up a birdie on the par-5 fifth to end an ugly stretch of 5 over in the previous seven holes. He ripped a 316-yard drive down the right side, then his second shot bounced onto the green before rolling back off. He chipped to about 30 feet and missed the eagle putt. Woods had birdies on both par-5s and needed the second one to get back to 3 over with four holes to play. –Schlabach

Pavon is cruising

For all the talk of Pinehurst’s difficulty this week, it doesn’t seem as if Matthieu Pavon is having much of a problem. The Frenchman made the turn in 2 under, with one eagle already under his belt, and proceeded to add a second one on the par-5 10th hole with a 27-foot putt after reaching the green. It’s early, but Pavon’s 5 under will now set the pace for the rest of the tournament. — Uggetti

Pavon carded eagles on both par-5s at Pinehurst No. 2 in the first round Thursday to become the first player to get to 5 under. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he’s the first golfer to post two eagles in the same U.S. Open round at Pinehurst No. 2. He’s the third player to do it in the U.S. Open at any course in the past 10 years; Jimmy Walker (second round, Shinnecock Hills in 2018) and Tommy Fleetwood (final round, Los Angeles Country Club in 2023) were the others. — Schlabach

Brooks in the lead

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: On a hard major championship golf course, Brooks Koepka is leading the tournament. The four-time major winner got off to an early lead at the U.S. Open by playing the front nine in 2 under and making a birdie on the 10th hole to go to 3 under on the day. Koepka seems to thrive in these kind of setups, and this week should be no different. — Paolo Uggetti

Tiger starts off strong

Fifteen-time major champion Tiger Woods is off to a great start Thursday. He began on the second nine and sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 10th. On the par-4 12th, Woods didn’t like his second shot and nearly broke an iron over his knee. His ball ended up in a greenside bunker. He chipped to 10 feet and made the long par save to remain at 1 under. Woods’ short game looked rusty at the Masters and PGA Championship, but so far so good at Pinehurst No. 2. — Mark Schlabach

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