“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?
Some guys are really making moves today. Kisner at the top at nine under still Woodland at eight under and Stone and Koepka at six. Rose has a tester left for par on 18 while Rahm and Spieth have looks for birdie.
Kevin Kisner birdied his first hole (No. 10) to get to -4 for the tournament. Justin Rose is the only one to find the green on No. 1 as Spieth and Rahm come up short. Tournament leader Gary Woodland is even par through his first hole today to remain -6.
Rory hits a beautiful approach setting up a short birdie try of about six feet. TW hits a pitching wedge that refuses to spin back toward the hole leaving him with about 15 feet for birdie. JT also hits a solid approach to about 15 feet away from the hole.
It will favor bombers and there a lot of those. Take your pick. Rahm. DJ. Justin Thomas. Rory. Within that subset take the guy with the hottest putter which is far more variable and harder to predict. I like Tony Finau because…what’s not to like?
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.
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.
Gary Woodland just made a rare eagle on No. 17 to get to two under par on the day and eight under par for the tournament. He’s a co-leader now with Kisner who just made another birdie to get to five under on the day.
Alright next up on 62 watch is Charl Schwartzel! 7 under through 16 and playing a par 5. Kisner bogeys the 9th and Gary Woodland makes par. Woodland -10 Kisner -9 Koepka -8 DJ -7. Might be the last two tee times tomorrow.
The biggest surprise is just how few surprises there were! The leaderboard seems to be going according to plan. The top 7 players in the world are all under par in stark contrast to the superstar carnage at the U.S. and British Opens. The best players appear to be playing the best. Bring on the weekend!
Here comes Jordan off of No. 10. It’s a great start in the fairway with the driver. One of this morning’s featured groups of Jordan Spieth (+1) Justin Rose (-3) and Jon Rahm (-2) tees off at 9:12. Spieth was grinding on the range until late last evening. The other featured group of DJ (-3) Bubba (E) and Adam Scott (-1) is already through the second hole.
Bubba Watson trending downward while Adam Scott is cruising. He’s five under on the day with two remaining and five under for the tournament. Bubba Watson is SEVEN over today with just a few holes to play. He’s heading home.