Rose and Spieth find the fairway. No. 18 is a 457-yard par 4. Dogleg left. Rahm is first to play and he finds the fairway bunker on the right. Rahm drains his first birdie of the day on No. 17 to get to -3 for the tournament. Jordan converts his par putt (wow) and Rose makes his birdie to get back to -4 for the tournament.
Kevin Kisner has birdied three of his first four holes to get to -6 for the tournament — one shot back of Woodland’s lead. A bogey for DJ on No. 15 drops him to -2 for the tournament. No. 13 is a 172-yard par 3 that requires a full carry over a ravine. All three players are safely on the green but Rahm has the best look at birdie.
Molinari just birdied No. 14 — his third birdie in five holes — to get to -5 for the tournament. Only two back of the lead! No. 144 is a 422-yard par 4 and Spieth hammers a fairway wood into the fairway. He’s swinging very well today. Rahm opts to go with driver and finds the right-side fairway. Rose also goes with driver and hits one into the center of the fairway.
Tiger hits a lovely shot from the bunker to give himself about six feet for par. JT is not happy with his chip but he only has maybe 8-10 feet to convert for his par. 178 left for Rory and he’s safely on the green pin high but not super close. Before him Tiger hit low shot from the left rough that ended up in the front right greenside bunker.
Tiger drains his par save and Rory taps in for par as well. On to No. 5 a par 4 playing 475 today. JT misses his par putt to drop his first shot of the day. He falls to -2 one shot back of the lead.
“Distance is not so important here as you might think” Gary Player said after winning the 1965 U.S. Open at a 7200-yard Bellerive (the longest-ever U.S. Open at the time). Will that hold true this week?
Justin Rose makes a birdie at 2 he’s back to even. Spieth (+2) has to settle for par. DJ fails to birdie 5 and will remain at +1. In case you missed Tiger’s round you can read all about it here: Spieth hits a decent approach at 2. He’ll have a shot to get back one of those he lost on at the 1st.
I’m surprised by the variety of big and short hitters at the top. DJ Rickie Woodland Day … and ZJ Gay and Kisner? Looks like Bellerive is more than a bomb-and-gouge setup which is what you want at a major.
Oh it’s that 65 by Rickie who’s been awfully quiet since his run at Augusta. As ever with Rick it’s going to be fascinating to see how he holds up in the literal and figurative heat of being in the hunt at a major. Lotsa golf to play but for now all eyes are on Le Grand Orange.
Not a terribly easy shot and he hits an okay one but it carries too much pace and he’ll be left with about 8 feet for birdie. Thomas is putting for birdie from the fringe and Rory has a little work left for birdie too.
Although guys aren’t exactly testing the major championship scoring record out here it’s an incredibly bunched leaderboard. Only two players of the 100-plus on course are worse than six over — in the current conditions Bellerive doesn’t have any crazy teeth. Hard to make birdies? Maybe. But no problem sticking around par for most of the field.
Add Brooks Koepka to the list of players making a statement this morning. He’s three under through his first eight holes four shots back of the lead. Ah finally a birdie for Jordan! Brings him to -1 for the tournament. Pars for Rose and Rahm.