Friday, 23 August, 2019

US Open: Ewen Murray on tough start for Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods

Lora Ball | 15 June, 2018, 18:26

Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox has come through a hard opening day at the US Open in NY, now sitting in a tie for 20th, four shots off the leaders.

Starting his day on the 10th hole, Fox got off to a poor start, coming away with a bogey, before another blemish on the 15th. One of those birdies included this hole-out from the bunker on eight.

When McIlroy left the course, he was 11 shots behind the early clubhouse lead set by England's Ian Poulter and the American Scott Piercy.

Jordan Spieth, playing alongside McIlroy, also endured a nightmare opening day with a round of 78, with Phil Mickelson, making up the threeball, shooting 77.

After hitting a nice tee shot and finding the fairway on the first hole, Woods hit his approach shot over the green and into the rough.

Dustin Johnson played some of his best golf Thursday (Friday NZ time) and yet the world's No 1 player barely beat par in the treacherous wind at Shinnecock Hills.

Jason Dufner was fifth after Thursday with an even-par 70.

In his return to the US Open after a two-year absence, Woods opened a major with a triple bogey for the first time in 15 years. It held the second U.S. Open in 1896, and then went 90 years until its next one.

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As a U.S. Open champion, he is plenty familiar with the rigors and demands of a USGA setup.

"Tested", McIlroy said, "but punished if you hit a bad shot".

"All I had to do after that start was shoot even par over the next 16 holes and I'd be just fine", he said.

The U.S. Open has gone to new courses two of the last three years, and Jack Nicklaus is among those who feared it had lost its identity.

Par would have been miraculous for the early trio so defeated and baffled by Mother Nature's cruel gusts, a combined 25-over-par day for McIlroy, Spieth, and Mickelson setting an early tone of defeat.

"Happy it's over", Justin Rose said after a 1-over triumph. He chipped once and it came back to his feet.

"You had to be patient and stay focused all day, which I felt like I did a really good job (of) today", Johnson, the 2016 champion, said.

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