Another change to the weather forecast. According to Sky Sports, there are now thunderstorms expected around 1pm local time, which is 6pm in pounds sterling. Should that be the case, we might have problems getting everyone around by sundown … but it’d be good news for the later starters nevertheless, softening the greens and making them a darn sight easier to hold. All speculation, of course, and it’s changing by the hour, so let’s just play it by lugs.
The overnight leader Adam Hadwin continues to head in the wrong direction. His tee shot at the par-three 16th bounds into the thick surrounding rough. His wedge out is always destined to roll eight feet past, and he can’t make the saving putt coming back. No commitment to the stroke, which is always dying short and left. He’s -1.
A double-bogey six at the extremely testing 10th for Sam Burns. The hole is currently playing tied second for difficulty today, so going from rough to more rough to bunker was never going to cut it. He drops back to level par. Also at level par, but heading in the right direction and piecing his round back together after a horror start, is Justin Thomas. Birdie at 1, his second in three holes, and suddenly there’s renewed spring in the PGA champion’s step.
The grandly monickered Adrien Dumont de Chassart sounds as though he should be wheelspinning along the French Riviera in a 1950s formula-one car made entirely from flammable metal, no helmet, fag on, en route to an evening at the casino. In fact he’s a 22-year-old amateur golfer from Belgium standing on the tee at the drivable par-four 5th. He bashes his tee shot onto the green. One bounce, then inches from acing with the second. But the hole-in-one albatross wasn’t meant to be. Shame; he’d have joined Chen Tze-chung, Shaun Micheel and Nick Watney as the only players to have made albatross at a US Open. Dumont de Chassart’s ball rolls through the green and into the fringe at the back, from where he makes a garden-variety par. The small margins.
It’s consecutive bogeys for Viktor Hovland. Norway’s finest is unlucky on 18, his approach just failing to get over the bunker guarding the front of the green and sticking under the lip. He does extremely well to smash out onto the green, attacking the embedded ball with a wide open face, but he can’t make the long par saver, and the two shots he picked up at 12 and 13 are snatched back by 17 and 18. He turns in level-par 35, and is back where he started at level par for the tournament.
Nick Hardy has played in three previous US Opens, missing two cuts and finishing the other in a tie for 52nd. The 26-year-old from Illinois will fancy improving significantly on that record from where he is right now. A 69 yesterday, and he’s just birdied 2 to move into a tie for seventh at -2, just three off MJ Daffue’s lead. A fourth birdie of the day meanwhile for Sam Burns, this time at 8, grabbing back the shot he dropped with that careless three-putt on 6. He’s -2 as well.
A mistake by the leader MJ Daffue on the tiny par-three 11th. He sends his tee shot into the rough over the back, and only just holds the green with his chip. The resulting bogey cuts his lead to just the two. Meanwhile at 16, Matt Fitzpatrick is the width of a dimple from making a right-to-left 20-foot downhill trickle for another birdie. He looks as confident as any on the greens this week … and a hot putter is non-negotiable if you want to win a US Open.
-5: Daffue (11)
–3: Fitzpatrick (7*), Tarren, Lingmerth, McIlroy, Dahmen
The wind is picking up a little bit. The early forecast of rain around 1pm local time is also being revised. We’re much less likely to see any now, which won’t please today’s second wave, who would have been hoping a few drops would soften up the greens. Instead, the wind will dry them out and make them even harder and faster. God speed, Rory, Collin, Jon, Xander, et al.
A careless bogey for Viktor Hovland on 17. He lands his approach pin high, but gets so much backspin on the ball that it whistles off down the false front. Never the most confident with his wedge, he opts to putt back up onto the green, and rolls up well to six feet, but shoves the par putt to the right and he’s back to -1.
MJ Daffue is this close to extending his lead to four at the difficult 10th. He whistles his second to six feet and tickles the downhill birdie putt towards the cup. But it breaks to the right on the last turn and misses by millimetres. He stays at -6, three clear of a group that now includes Matt Fitzpatrick, who sends a bomb of a drive down 15, then wedges to four feet to set up his second birdie of the day. Birdie too for Justin Thomas at 17 to get back to +1.
-6: Daffue (10)
–3: Fitzpatrick (6*), Tarren, Lingmerth, McIlroy, Dahmen
The travails of the PGA champ Justin Thomas continue. Bogey at 14, then a seriously underhit ten-foot birdie effort at 16. Just a par and his shoulders slump. He’s +2 overall. As is the 2012 champion Webb Simpson, who has a glum look upon departing the par-five 14th with a triple-bogey eight. He was in a greenside bunker in two.
A couple of fine par saves. Viktor Hovland trundles a long birdie putt 15 feet past on 15, but rolls in the one coming back. He stays at -2. Meanwhile the leader MJ Daffue, having found the rough from the tee, powers up to the front of the green, hits a clumsy chip ten feet past, but steers in the delicate downhill right-to-left swinger to remain three clear of the peloton at -6!
A snap hook from the 12th tee ends up costing the overnight leader Adam Hadwin another shot. Two bogeys in the first three holes for the 34-year-old Canadian, and it could so easily have been three from three. He’s -2. Meanwhile a careless three-putt bogey for Sam Burns on 6, and he slips back to -1.
-6: Daffue (8)
–3: Tarren, Lingmerth, McIlroy, Dahmen
-2: Hovland (5*), Fitzpatrick (4*), Hadwin (3*), Buckley, NeSmith, Harman, Wise
Succour For All with world number one and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler. He completely chunks a chip at the short par-four 5th. A total lack of commitment, the divot going further forward than the ball, which then rolls back past Scheffler’s feet anyway. We’ve all been there all right, and Scheffler’s amateur aberration costs him a shot. He slips to +1.
MJ Daffue sends a hot second into the thick rough at the back of the par-five 8th. That leaves a tricky downhill pitch, which he sends way past the hole, his ball perhaps one revolution away from toppling off the false front and many yards down the fairway. It stops just in time. Two careful putts, and he escapes with par.
Sam Burns sends his drive at the short par-four 5th into thick fescue up a bank to the right of the green. He’s got a bunker to navigate as well, but plenty of green to play with. He whips a high lob to five feet, which is nothing short of miraculous from where he was, then calmly strokes the birdie putt into the centre of the cup. His third bird of the day, and he suddenly becomes a serious part of the conversation at -2.
… so perhaps Adam Hadwin’s street-fighting par on 10 was the harbinger of a scrappy day. He sends his tee shot at the short 11th into the heart of the green, but rolls an excitable downhill 20-footer six feet past, and can’t make the one coming back. All of a sudden, debutant MJ Daffue has a three-stroke lead at the US Open!
-6: Daffue (7)
–3: Hadwin (2*), Tarren, Lingmerth, McIlroy, Dahmen
-2: Hovland (4*), Fitzpatrick (3*), D Johnson (3*), Buckley, NeSmith, Harman, Wise
Tell you who is full of confidence: MJ Daffue, that’s who! The 33-year-old South African, playing in his first major championship, comes up short of 7, his ball rolling back down the false front. But he putts anyway and sends a right-to-left monster into the cup! He sticks a triumphant finger in the sky, then clenches his fist, and you’d have got good odds on this state of affairs yesterday morning!
-6: Daffue (7)
-4: Hadwin (1*)
-3: Tarren, Lingmerth, McIlroy, Dahmen
The overnight leader Adam Hadwin is out and about. A drive down the middle of 10. Then an approach pulled into awkward greenside sand. Suddenly a JT-style blowout looks a possibility. But with a downhill lie in the bunker and not much green to work with, he splashes to ten feet, about the best he could do, then salvages par with a right-to-left sliding putt. Harbinger of a scrappy day or the confidence-boosting foundation for another low round? Let’s see.
Another birdie, this time in more conventional style, for Viktor Hovland. The green found in regulation at 13, a 15-footer trundled in. He’s -2 for his round and the championship. Also -2: Matt Fitzpatrick, who bounces back from the careless dropped shot at 11 by sending his second at 12 to three feet and sealing the deal.
The PGA champion Justin Thomas got off to an awful start this morning. From the centre of 10, he pulled his approach into the thick rough and ended up running up a double-bogey six. Then he followed that up with bogey at 11. Suddenly one of the pre-tournament favourites had crashed down to +2. But a big break on 13 could have arrested that downward momentum. He overhits a long birdie putt, but the ball slams into the back of the cup, thinks about pinging away, but slam dunks. Lucky he had that line plumb, because otherwise he was facing a ten footer coming back. Birdie out of nowhere, and he’s back to +1.
A couple of long birdie putts here. Brooks Koepka rakes a huge left-to-right swinger from the front of 3, the two-time winner rising to +2, while Shane Lowry whistles one in from the fringe of 10. He’s +1. And from long to big: MJ Daffue finds greenside sand at the drivable par-four 5th, splashes out to four feet, and makes it consecutive birdies. He’s the new sole leader of the US Open! Finally a short one missed by Matt Fitzpatrick on 11, and he slips back to -1.
-5: Daffue (5)
-3: Tarren, Lingmerth, McIlroy, Dahmen
-2: Buckley, NeSmith, Harman, Wise, Fitzpatrick, Johnson (2*), Rose (1)
Sam Burns is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, and in terms of recent form alone, might be the next cab on the rank to break his major duck. The 25-year-old from Louisiana opens today with birdie, then adds another after nearly acing the par-three 2nd. He’s nicely placed at -1. Viktor Hovland may have something to say about that, though, and the Norwegian chips in from thick rough at the side of 12 to join Burns at -1 after yesterday’s 70.
Adam Hadwin is only playing this week as an alternate, having come through qualifying. He’s benefitting from Paul Casey’s withdrawal. Four of the other five first-round leaders are also qualifiers, the exception being Rory McIlroy. Very strange. Very refreshing. Might that, however, speak to their chances of staying the course over four days? Well, maybe, except MJ Daffue has just birdied 4 to join Hadwin in the lead, and Brookline has been known to deliver the odd surprise before, Francis Ouimet, all that, so you never know!
-4: Daffue (4), Hadwin
-3: Tarren, Lingmerth, McIlroy, Dahmen
Adam Hadwin leads after his opening round of 66 … but the likes of Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Adam Scott, Will Zalatoris, Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland and defending champ Jon Rahm are in hot pursuit. Here’s how the top of the leaderboard looks …
-3: Tarren, Lingmerth, McIlroy, Dahmen, Daffue
-2: Buckley, NeSmith, Harman, Wise, Fitzpatrick, Johnson, Rose
-1: Rodgers, Morikawa, Piot, Rahm, Scott, Homa, Zalatoris, Hossler, Hardy, Thomas, Woodland, Kokrak
… and here’s when everyone’s teeing off. Let’s go, then. It’s on!
Starting at hole 1:
11:45 Sean Crocker, Jediah Morgan (Aus), Taylor Montgomery
11:56 M. J. Daffue (Rsa), (a) Maxwell Moldovan, Yannik Paul (Ger)
12:07 Adria Arnaus (Spa), Talor Gooch, Tom Hoge
12:18 Sergio Garcia (Spa), Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Kevin Na
12:29 Patton Kizzire, Sam Burns, Thomas Pieters (Bel)
12:40 Brooks Koepka, Scottie Scheffler, Cameron Smith (Aus)
12:51 Corey Conners (Can), (a) Austin Greaser, Luke List
13:02 Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose (Eng), Gary Woodland
13:13 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Kyoung-Hoon Lee (Kor), Patrick Reed
13:24 Harris English, Lucas Herbert (Aus), Jason Kokrak
13:35 (a) Ben Lorenz, Davis Shore, Samuel Stevens
13:46 (a) Adrien Dumont (Bel), Daijiro Izumida (Jpn), Sebastian Soederberg (Swe)
13:57 Brady Calkins, Ryan Gerard, Jesse Mueller
17:30 Hayden Buckley, Fran Quinn, Callum Tarren (Eng)
17:41 (a) Sam Bennett, Kurt Kitayama, Denny McCarthy
17:52 Wil Besseling (Ned), Wyndham Clark, Brandon Matthews
18:03 Si Woo Kim (Kor), Sepp Straka (Aut), David Lingmerth (Swe)
18:14 Victor Perez (Fra), Davis Riley, Scott Stallings
18:25 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Xander Schauffele
18:36 Brian Harman, Russell Henley, Kevin Kisner
18:47 Keegan Bradley, Marc Leishman (Aus), Aaron Wise
18:58 Stewart Cink, Francesco Molinari (Ita), (a) Laird Shepherd (Eng)
19:09 Marcel Schneider (Ger), Joseph Bramlett, Chan Kim
19:20 Joel Dahmen, Lanto Griffin, Jinichiro Kozuma (Jpn)
19:31 (a) Fred Biondi (Bra), Harry Hall (Eng), Chris Gotterup
19:42 Luke Gannon, Chris Naegel, Andrew Beckler
Starting at hole 10:
11:45 Kevin Chappell, Andrew Novak, Chase Seiffert
11:56 Thorbjoern Olesen (Den), Brian Stuard, Nick Hardy
12:07 Sam Horsfield (Eng), Shaun Norris (Rsa), Cameron Tringale
12:18 Sung Jae Im (Kor), Guillermo Mito Pereira (Chi), Erik van Rooyen (Rsa)
12:29 Tony Finau, Viktor Hovland (Nor), Justin Thomas
12:40 Joo-Hyung Kim (Kor), Min-Woo Lee (Aus), Seamus Power (Irl)
12:51 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng), Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson
13:02 Shane Lowry (Irl), Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa)
13:13 Danny Lee (Nzl), (a) Keita Nakajima (Jpn), Nick Taylor (Can)
13:24 (a) Nick Dunlap, Jim Furyk, Adam Hadwin (Can)
13:35 Richard Bland (Eng), Ryan Fox (Nzl), Rikuya Hoshino (Jpn)
13:46 Jonas Blixt (Swe), Bo Hoag, Todd Sinnott (Aus)
13:57 Sean Jacklin (Sco), (a) Charles Reiter, Isaiah Salinda
17:30 Matt McCarty, Michael Thorbjornsen (a), Erik Barnes
17:41 Matthew NeSmith, Patrick Rodgers, Travis Vick (a)
17:52 Troy Merritt, William Mouw (a), Andrew Putnam
18:03 Collin Morikawa, James Piot, Jon Rahm (Spa)
18:14 Max Homa, Adam Scott (Aus), Jordan Spieth
18:25 Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Billy Horschel
18:36 Sebastian Munoz (Col), Alexander Noren (Swe), Harold Varner III
18:47 Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Cameron Young, Will Zalatoris
18:58 (a) Stewart Hagestad, Grayson Murray, Adam Schenk
19:09 Branden Grace (Rsa), Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Guido Migliozzi (Ita)
19:20 Beau Hossler, Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn), Kalle Samooja (Fin)
19:31 Richard Mansell (Eng), Roger Sloan (Can), Tomoyasu Sugiyama (Jpn)
19:42 Keith Greene, Benjamin Silverman (Can), (a) Caleb Manuel