Zach Johnson. Sneaky long. Tiger Woods post-round with reporters ready to talk golf till the cows come home. The town. St. Louis is the greatest baseball town in the country. But the enthusiasm for this event is off the rails.
Tiger cleans up his par there; that’s a nifty save. Man these greens look bumpy though. I don’t envy the afternoon groups. Three 3s for the featured group at 6.
Leaderboard update: Gary Woodland just birdied No. 11 (his second hole) to get to -7 two shots clear of Rickie Fowler Kevin Kisner and Brandon Stone. Kisner birdied his first two holes today while Stone just birdied the par-3 16th. All three players opt to lay up and find the fairway with irons off the tee.
Matt Kuchar is quietly making his way up the leaderboard at the moment. He’s three under par through his first five holes today now at -2 for the tournament. Spieth Rose and Rahm all hit nice wedges to set up good birdie opportunities on No. 11.
That’s now back-to-back birdies for Rose who gets to five under for the week and is five back. Rahm also made birdie to get to four under. Spieth made par on the 2nd. Whoa! Ted Potter Jr just holed out for eagle on 14 to get to five under. He’s one under for the tournament.
Tiger’s birdie never has a chance and he taps in for par. Rory putts to tap-in range for his par and JT misses his birdie attempt on the low side. Now it’s Tiger’s turn. Rickie Fowler birdied No. 7 to get to -4 with two holes to play. He’s the outright leader now with Stewart Cink hanging in at one shot back.
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.
Adam Scott is two under through five holes today currently five shots back of Woodland’s lead No. 12 is a 459-yard par 4. Spieth and Rahm find the fairway but Rose ends up in the fairway bunker. Jordan is the only member of this featured trio to convert his birdie putt so he heads to No. 12 at even par for the tournament.
“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?
Jon Rahm stepped on his ball (in the rough) on the par-5 8th. That’s a penalty folks! He wasn’t thrilled that it wasn’t marked by a course marshal. It was just a bit off the fairway.
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.
I don’t know! But I thought it was interesting. The name of the game appears to be 1. Fairways and 2. Distance control with the irons. Sticking with Tiger but I think there’ll be plenty of variety among the leaders.