Not off to a great start? Jordan Spieth. He’s got about 50 feet for par at his very first hole of the day after a wayward tee shot. You can add Dustin Johnson to that list as well; he’s one over. Say it with me: “Lot of golf left.”
Tiger tees off first and overcooks it over the green on the left. Rory is safely on the green but it’s a long putt for birdie. JT finds the edge of the green right up against the first cut. Here we are at No. 6 a par 3 where there’s a holdup on the tee as they wait for the green to clear.
I don’t know Bellerive from Bel Air. (In fact I’m not sure how to pronounce it.) But I’m told the fairways are wider than traditional bomb-and-gouge tracks like Firestone. That means well-placed shorter drives should be rewarded with better lines to attack the greens. Don’t count the Zachs out just yet!
Spieth makes his fourth par in a row at 5 after his opening double-bogey. He’s still stuck at +2. Yang drops his first shot of the day at the 15th. He’s now at -2. Patrick Reed who is also playing in the major champ group with Koepka and Molinari hit the green with his tee shot. But a three-putt earns him a bogey and moves him down to +2.
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.
Justin Rose converts his first birdie of the day to get to -4 only two shots back of the lead. Rahm and Spieth miss and settle for pars. Our featured group meanwhile has three nice looks at birdie on No. 14. Gary Woodland just bogeyed No. 14 so there’s now a three-way tie for the lead at -6: Woodland Kisner and South Africa’s Brandon Stone.
A near miss for Rory’s birdie and Tiger follows suit coming up just short. JT also comes up short from the fringe and taps in for par. So ho-hum on No. 3 for our trio. No. 3 is playing 153 yards today. TW hits a safe shot to about pin high 20 feet from the cup. JT takes a more aggressive line and ends up just off the green on the fringe. And Rory hits a safe shot like Tiger also 20-25 feet from the hole.
Rahm just misses his birdie try on 1. He’s run a lot of putts close today. Par for him Rose pars too. Spieth lips his birdie try. He stays at one under. Jordan Spieth sticks it on the 1st hole his 10th of the day and he’ll have a look at birdie to get to two under.
No. 11 is a driveable par 4 playing 298 today — but it’s super dangerous with water in front of the green on the right side. It was the site of Tiger’s double bogey yesterday after he hit it in the water. Rose comes up just short on his birdie attempt while Rahm and Spieth have testers left for par. And they make them.
“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.
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.