Tiger Woods grinded his way to a three-over par 73 in the opening round of the 120th US Open, putting the 15-time major winner in jeopardy of missing the cut.
The inconsistent 44-year-old reigning Masters champion made six pars, six bogeys, five birdies and a closing double-bogey at Winged Foot, leaving him at risk of missing the cut for the third time in his past four US Open starts and fourth time in his career.
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“It was a bit of ebb and flow to the round,” Woods said.
“I did not finish off the round like I needed to. I made a bunch of putts in the middle part of the round.
“It seemed like most of my drives on the front nine landed in the fairway and ended up in bad spots, and I tried to stay as patient as possible, and unfortunately just did not finish off my round the way I needed to.”
Top-ranked Dustin Johnson also finished the opening round with a 73.
Johnson, who won the US PGA Tour Championship two weeks ago, managed only two birdies against a double bogey and three bogeys.
“It wasn’t too bad. Just didn’t drive it in the fairway enough,” Johnson said.
“I rolled it really well, but I just didn’t make any putts.”
World No.21 Woods was fighting to make the most of a tough day.
Woods escaped a greenside bunker to six feet and made the par putt at the par-3 third, but made bogeys at the fourth and fifth before dropping his approach at the sixth to seven feet and sinking the par putt.
He made a bogey at eight after finding dense rough off the tee, then responded with three birdies in a row.
Woods endured a tough day at the office.Source:AFP
Woods sank a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-5 ninth, followed with a 24-foot birdie putt at the par-3 10th and added a 19-foot birdie putt at the par-4 11th.
“The middle part of my round, a lot of things went my way,” Woods said.
“Beginning part of the round it seemed like things weren’t going my way. Good tee shots ended up in the rough in bad spots, and I had a nice little hot run there in the middle part of my round.”
But at 17-foot birdie putt lipped out at the par-5 12th and the magic seemed to vanish with it.
Woods found a bunker at the par-3 13th to make bogey, went in deep rough at 14 on the way to another bogey and closed bogey-double bogey to fall from within reach of the leaders to well off the pace.
Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson shot 79, the 50-year-old left-hander opening birdie-birdie but following with nine bogeys and a double bogey.
THOMAS TAKES EARLY LEAD, VILLAIN LANDS ACE
Justin Thomas closed with a 25-foot birdie putt to seize a one-stroke lead after Thursday’s first round of the 120th US Open, while three other major winners lurked within two shots.
Third-ranked Thomas, the 2017 PGA Championship winner, fired a five-under par 65 at Winged Foot with a pack one back on 66 including Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters winner who had a hole-in-one, 21-year-old American Matthew Wolff and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters.
“This is one of the better rounds I’ve had tee to green,” Thomas said.
“I was very proud of my patience. I got off to a good start.”
Thomas, who fired the lowest US Open round ever at Winged Foot, began with a birdie, took a bogey at the par-3 third, answered with an eight-foot birdie at the par-4 sixth and then reeled off three consecutive birdies starting at the par-5 ninth before his impressive final putt.
Golf villain Reed aced the 165-yard par-3 seventh and ran off three birdies in four holes on the back nine to share the lead until Thomas’s last shot at the famed Mamaroneck, New York, layout.
Reed also blasted out of deep rough to two feet to save par at 16.
There were no spectators to applaud any amazing shots – which included another ace from Will Zalatoris – as a coronavirus pandemic precaution, the deadly virus having delayed the event from its usual June date and sidelined Pieters until last month.
DOUBLE aces on day one!
Golf: Patrick Reed and Will Zalatoris both achieved the rare feat on the 7th hole during the first day of play of the US Open, with Matthew Wolff coming agonisingly close.
Pieters, third in his coronavirus comeback, closed with an eight-foot birdie putt at the ninth.
“I kind of knocked the rust off and came here with a bit of confidence because I’m hitting it well,” said Pieters.
“Just got to put down a good score and I did today.”
Wolff, the 2019 US college champion making his US Open debut, reeled off three consecutive birdies starting at the par-4 11th and closed with five pars to share second.
Sitting two adrift on 67 were world number four Rory McIlroy, England’s Lee Westwood, chasing his first major title at age 47, and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion.
Four-time major winner McIlroy, playing his first major round since becoming a father with the birth of daughter Poppy two weeks ago, made three of his four birdies on par-3 holes.
HOW THE AUSSIES FARED IN ROUND 1
Adam Scott (+1), Cameron Smith (+1), Jason Day (+2), Lucas Herbert (+2), Marc Leishman (+3), Scott Hend (+4), Curtis Luck (+5), Matt Jones (+6), Lukas Michel (a) (+10)
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