Justin Rose has taken the lead of the 119th U.S. Open Championship with a birdie on his final hole in the opening round at Pebble Beach, eclipsing the clubhouse lead of 66 with a round of 6-under 65.
Only the second player in history to reach the low mark of 6-under at the Carmel-by-the-Sea course in a U.S. Open, Rose equals the record set in 2000 by Tiger Woods in his opening round.
Turning it on early with an eagle on the 6th hole, a birdie on 16 sparked a late charge for the lead with birdies following on 17 and 18, moving Rose above the logjam of players tied at the top of the leaderboard.
“I was trying to stay patient with myself mentally, but kept up-and-downing the ball, kept the momentum up,” said Rose.
“Then I got rewarded with a hot finish, birdieing the last three. I took a good round to a great round.”
Rickie Fowler shot an impressive opening round of 5-under 66 to take the morning’s clubhouse lead, eventually being joined by Xander Schauffele, Louis Oosthuizen and Aaron Wise in a tie for second place.
Widely regarded as the best player without a major championship to his name, Fowler looked calm throughout his opening round which included just a single bogey on the 9th hole.
“It was pretty stress-free,” said Fowler of his opening round, hitting 93% of fairways and 83% of greens in regulation.
“You still feel uncomfortable I guess. The lines are very tight and you’re still trying to execute, and I think that was a big thing – you never feel just in cruise control at a major, especially a U.S. Open.”
Marc Leishman leads the way for the Aussies after playing in the morning field, finishing four shots off the lead and well in contention at Pebble Beach.
Taking to the back-9 to start his round, Leishman opened with bogeys on 10 and 12 before birdies 13, 18, and three in a row from holes 5 to 7 pushed him up the leaderboard, closing out with a bogey at 9 for a 2-under 69 scorecard.
“I got off to a pretty ordinary start, a couple over after three holes,” said Leishman.
“I didn’t do a whole lot wrong but knew if I kept hitting good shots, they’ve got to come eventually. The course was out there to be had and it was nice to fight back and shoot a couple under.
“The greens were a little quicker today but still pretty soft. I think that’s going to change a lot as the week goes on. I think it will firm up a lot and be really difficult.”
Reigning champion Brooks Koepka got off to an incredible start playing alongside Viktor Hovland and Francesco Molinari, firing four birdies through seven holes to chase down the leaders.
A bogey at 8 halted the American’s charge, Koepka going on to add a single birdie and two bogeys to his scorecard for a round 1 total of 2-under 69.
Jason Day enjoyed a steady start to his 2019 US Open campaign with Steve Williams on the bag, posting four birdies and three bogeys for a round of 1-under 70. Playing in the afternoon field, Adam Scott joined Day on the 1-under 70 total to tie for 28th place.
Birdies on 3, 6 and 18 and bogeys on the 2nd, 10th and 16th holes resulted in an even-par round of 71 for Australian PGA Championship winner Cameron Smith who sits tied for 40th ahead of the second round.
Aaron Baddeley was among the handful of players to make eagle on a record-breaking day; his coming on the par-5, 518 yard 6th hole before finishing round one with a 1-over 72 total.
Marcus Fraser was one of the first players to take to Pebble Beach, teeing off alongside America’s Sam Saunders and Mexican Carlos Oritz from the 1st tee.
Starting his round with two bogeys on holes 2 and 3, birdies on 4 and 6 brought Fraser back to even par before making the turn at 1-over thanks to a bogey at 9. Birdies on 14 and 15 weren’t able to push Fraser into red numbers with further bogeys on 10, 17 and 18 seeing the Victorian finish round 1 at 2-over 73.
In his first appearance at Pebble Beach Golf Links and third U.S. Open tilt, Ryan Fox opened with a round of 3-over 74; Matt Jones joining the Kiwi on the 3-over total later in the round sit tied for 98th.
New Zealand amateur Daniel Hillier endured a rollercoaster round featuring birdies, bogeys and double-bogeys for a scorecard of 5-over 76.
In his maiden major championship appearance, Brett Drewitt showed composure as he took to the Pebble Beach layout to make the turn at even par, however, a double bogey on the tough 10th hole started a downturn for the New South Welshman who completed the opening round at 6-over.
Highlighting the round was a hole-in-one from Slovakian Rory Sabbatini on the par-3, 202 yard 12th. History was also made during the round with the single-round record of 12 eagles in a U.S. Open well and truly broken.
Adam Scott will be the first of the Australasians to tee off in round two at 1:02am AEST tomorrow morning with live coverage starting from 5:00am AEST on FOX SPORTS Australia 503.
Marc Leishman 2-under 69 T16
Jason Day 1-under 70 T28
Adam Scott 1-under 70 T28
Cameron Smith Even par 71 T40
Aaron Baddeley 1-over 72 T58
Marcus Fraser 2-over 73 T77
Ryan Fox 3-over 74 T98
Matt Jones 3-over 74 T98
Daniel Hillier (a) 5-over 76 T132
Brett Drewitt 6-over 77 T141
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