A quick look at the leaderboard of the 2017 U.S. Open might make you think that Erin Hills is hosting the John Deere Classic and not a major, but the low scores on Thursday did provide plenty of thrills for the USGA's national championship.
Rickie Fowler fired one of the best opening rounds in tournament history with his seven-under 65, shining bright while other stars like Dustin Johnson and Jason Day might have played themselves out of contention to even make the weekend.
Phil Mickelson didn't get the weather delay he needed to make his tee time, and an, but the most significant storyline moving forward are the dozens sub-par scores in a tournament known for limiting the number of players in red numbers.
Here's how the top of the leaderboard looks after Round 1.
1. Rickie Fowler (-7): After back-to-back missed cuts at Oakmont and Chambers Bay and two top-10 finishes before that, Fowler is sitting in a great spot to capture that elusive first major win. While the fescue snagged and penalized other players in the field, Fowler hit 12-of-14 fairways with a controlled approach off the tee and made it look easy with seven birdies and 11 pars. After being one of the first on the course on Thursday, he'll get to watch the rest of the field chase him before getting back to work on Friday afternoon.
T2. Paul Casey (-6): The leaderboard doesn't have many of the world's top golfers, making Casey (No. 14) a superstar among his peers.
T2. Xander Schauffele (-6): The 23-year-old out of San Diego State turned pro in 2015 did not play on the PGA Tour until 2017 when a 15th place finish in the Web.com Tour Finals earned him a card. He has missed the cut in seven of his last 13 events but was on fire Thursday with six birdies (four over his last eight holes) and no bogeys.
T4. Tommy Fleetwood (-5): The 2017 season has been a resurgent one for Tommy Fleetwood, notching his lowest major round here with a bogey-free 67. Like Fowler, Fleetwood got the best conditions possible at Erin Hills in the morning and could face more wind in the afternoon when bogey-free golf might be a little bit tougher.
T4. Brian Harman (-5): A strong performance from Harman shouldn't come as a huge surprise considering he has three top-10 finishes in the last three months, including a win at the Wells Fargo at Eagle Point. Harman was bogey-free and got birdies on both of the back nine par 3s (No. 13, No. 16) on the way to a 32 on that side.
T4. Brooks Koepka (-5): While other long hitters like D.J. and Jon Rahm couldn't deliver on their predicted advantage here at the longest U.S. Open in tournament history, Koepka was not only long but accurate, hitting 13-of-14 fairways and 16-of-18 greens in regulation. Six birdies and just one bogey set the stage for what could be a huge breakthrough weekend for Koepka.
T7. Adam Hadwin (-4): He caught fire on his second nine, going out in 31 with six birdies and a bogey on the front. This is just the fourth major in which Hadwin has qualified to compete.
T7. Marc Leishman (-4): It seemed like Leishman was spending a lot more time hitting out of difficult spots than his scorecard suggests, but he was able to hit 14-of-18 greens in regulation and never fell below even par on a five-birdie, one-bogey day.
T7. Kevin Na (-4): It's true that Na was complaining about the rough earlier in the week, but he settled in on Thursday after a bogey on his first hole and finished with four birdies in his last five holes to make a furious climb up the leaderboard late in the afternoon. If Na gets the good conditions that the morning group got on Friday, he can make a serious run at Fowler's lead.
T7. Patrick Reed (-4): While never over par, Reed did have two bogeys during his trip around Erin Hills, making for an entertaining round while many of the others up here were mostly mistake-free. If he can keep stacking birdies, Reed will be in the mix to best his previous best finish at the U.S. Open (T14).
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