June 16, 2017: The man that inherited the mantle of being the best golfer without a major took responsibility squarely on his shoulders. Rickie Fowler flew out front with a massive first round effort in the 117th US Open. The 28 year old American tied the best start to a US Open, matching Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf, with a 7-under score in the first round. Fowler gained a one stroke lead over Paul Casey and Xander Schauffele, both of whom made 66 in the first round.
Nicklaus and Weiskopf made 63 in the first round at Baltusrol in 1980, on a course that counted par at 70. Fowler burst out of the gates with a flurry of birdies, firing six in the first eleven holes to surge to the top of the leaderboard. He eased out from there for a brilliant 65 to set the tone at Erin Hills.
“I take it as a compliment. There are a lot of really good players out here that haven’t won a major,” Fowler said about his search for a maiden major.
“So it would be nice to get rid of that at some point. I’m not saying that this is the week or isn’t the week. But I like the way this golf course suits me, and we’re off to a good start.”
“I’m ready to be up there (on Sunday),” Fowler added.? “Having a win this year at The Honda Classic, being in contention at majors in the past, and having THE PLAYERS win has definitely done a lot for me.”
Brian Harman, Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka were all tied in fourth after shooting 67 each in the first round. Patrick Reed, Kevin Na, Marc Leishman and Adam Hadwin rounded off the top ten with even scores of four under 68.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson got off to a rough start. The world No.1 got out in an even 36 strokes, but suffered a late stumble for a disappointing 75.
Sahith Theegala was even through his first five holes and got out in 36 too, but a 41 on the way in left him down the order in T131. Scottie Scheffler was the low amateur at the end of the first round, with a poised 69 to start his US Open campaign. Cameron Champ shot 70 to finish the first day, inside the top twenty.
Englishman of Indian heritage Aaron Rai in lying in T61 after posting a score of one over 73. Swedish Indian Daniel Chopra got off to a miserable 77, leaving himself in T131.
The USGA will be working extra hard on Thursday night to find a way to draw the scores back toward par by managing the greens and pin positions.