14 June 2019: On a perfect spring morning in the Monterey Peninsula, the world’s best, made light of the stiff Pebble Beach challenge indulging in a birdie binge. Rickie Fowler, still looking for his first major, as is Xander Schauffele raced out of the gates with a comforting 66 to snatch the early lead. Louis Oosthuizen knows a thing or two more than those two gentlemen, having won the 2010 Open Championship. The South African joined the party at the top with a 66 dampened by just the lone bogey at the 16th hole.
UPDATE: Justin Rose made three straight birdies to finish his round on a massive high, taking the solo lead with a mind-blowing 65. The last time that was done at the US Open was by Tiger Woods in 2000. He made a battling 70 on Thursday, while Jordan Spieth took home a 72.
Hideki Matsuyama was the best placed Asian, firing a two-under 69 in the opening round. The Japanese made a terrific eagle at the 14th hole, chipping in from just outside the green. But he also conceded bogey at the 7th, 10th and 18th to settle for a 69, good enough for T13 midway through the round.
Anirban Lahiri had a horrid start. He went Bogey-Bogey-Double Bogey soon as he started off the 10th tee. He drove 300 yards to the left and was dealing with the unforgiving rough at Pebble Beach. He reached the green with his third but left himself twelve feet to the cup, leading to the bogey.
He did well to steady the boat though, making a string of pars to settle into a nice rhythm. At the 16th, Anirban was forced to hack out back on to the fairway with his second shot from the left. Unperturbed he sent his third right under the flag before knocking in the par putt from four feet.
He found the sand at the par-4 fourth and conceded the third bogey of the round. In making amends from there Anirban showed us yet again the quality of golf he is capable of when he dials in his mind and body. On the verge of turning 32, the Indian went on a hot streak, firing three straight birdies to steer clear of substantive damage. In the end the ninth stole a stroke from Anirban to drop him back to 74.
Fowler had an opportunity to emulate Tiger Woods and post a 65, the best opening round in a US Open at the Pebble Beach. But his birdie putt on the 18th kissed the edge of the cup but refused to drop.
Schauffele and Oosthuizen worked up a sweat to ensure they matched the pace set by Fowler. The former made an eagle at the 18th with a brilliant 10-footer into the cup to secure his 66. The South African went one better, working a 50-footer from inside the bunker to birdie the last hole for his 66.