Shinnecock Hills took center stage on Thursday with the help of some gusting wind as the 2018 U.S. Open field battled through a tough opening round of tournament play.
After a week of calm conditions, the wind speeds reached 15-to-20 mph and players not only struggled to find scoring opportunities, but had to avoid putting big numbers on the card. On the day, there were 189 double-bogeys or worse from the field.
Tiger Woods had one of those as he with a triple bogey on the first hole and finished near fellow major winners Jordan Spieth (78), Jason Day (79) and Rory McIlroy (80) with an eight-over 78 in Round 1. For McIlroy, the score ties and unfortunately left him as one of the few players to be truly out of contention after Day 1.
Everyone struggled, and only four players finished under par. Here's how the top of that leaderboard looks after Thursday:
T1. Dustin Johnson (-1): His on-course reactions may be subdued, but it's never boring with DJ. First, it took a team of media, officials and playing partners Woods and Justin Thomas to find a wayward tee shot. Then, he got it right back with a hole-out from the sand on No. 8. Shinnecock is going to throw some punches, and it's going to take a heavyweight performance to outlast the rest of the competition over four days. DJ showed every sign that he is built to win this tournament, and as we turn our attention to Friday, he remains the favorite.
T1. Russell Henley (-1): Henley hit the ball about as well as anyone in the field. A double-bogey on No. 10 and a bogey on 18 soured what was looking like the low round of the day -- at least it definitely did after Henley carded the first eagle of the tournament on No. 5. Henley ranked in the top five in the field in fairways hit and greens in regulation, and got his own hole-out from the sand on No. 12.
T1. Ian Poulter (-1): Are you ready for Poulter in contention for a U.S. Open title in 2018? At this point in his career, Poulter has been able to tap into some really good golf in big moments. He got two of his three birdies on the day on par 3s, which is a good sign for his game heading into the weekend.
T1. Scott Piercy (-1): Expectations for Piercy weren't high this week, but he's shown up big. Birdies on 10 and 12 put him in the mix, and a tough par on 14 kept him there. According to PGATour.com's Sean Martin, Piercy figured he'd be home on Saturday.
Golf's a funny game.— Sean Martin (@PGATOURSMartin) June 14, 2018
Scott Piercy walked off four holes into yesterday's practice round. He told his wife he'd probably be home Saturday.
Now he leads the U.S. Open after a 69.
5. Jason Dufner (E): Dufner started hot with birdies on No. 2, No. 5 and No. 6, and he hit the ball well most of the day. There were disappointing moments on the greens -- some missed birdie putts, some missed par putts -- but enough good signs to think the 2013 PGA Championship winner can contend to win here this weekend.
T6. Justin Rose, Matthieu Pavon, Charles Howell, Byeong Hun An, Charley Hoffman, Sam Burns, Henrik Stenson (+1): Of this group, Rose is most likely candidate to make a charge at the lead on Friday after missing on a couple good birdie looks during his first round 71.
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