Poulter shares clubhouse lead as McIlroy among favourites blown away at US Open
Poulter grabbed a four-way lead with Dustin Johnson, Scott Piercy and Russell Henley after round one.
A resurgent Ian Poulter claimed a share of the clubhouse lead as windy conditions sent scores soaring on the first day of the US Open, with Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods just two of the high-profile victims.
Poulter, who was ranked outside the world’s top 200 just 15 months ago, carded a one-under-par 69 to join world number one Dustin Johnson, Scott Piercy and Russell Henley at the top of the leaderboard at Shinnecock Hills.
Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson were part of a large tie for sixth on one over par, but McIlroy’s hopes of a second US Open title and first major since 2014 were blown away as he slumped to an 80, his worst score in the US Open also equalling his worst in any major from the final round of the 2011 Masters.
And Woods only fared marginally better with a 78 which included a triple bogey on the first and consecutive double bogeys on the back nine, the first as a result of four-putting from long range.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Former Walker Cup player Will Zalatoris puts the tough conditions into perspective.
I got pooped on by a bird mid round and shot 80 today in a little tournament today and still had a helluva time. #perspective— Will Zalatoris (@WillZalatoris) June 14, 2018
SHOT OF THE DAY
World number one Dustin Johnson left himself an awkward bunker shot on the eighth, but promptly holed it for birdie.
ROUND OF THE DAY
Making his US Open debut, France’s Matthieu Pavon was in the first group out at 0645 and promptly carved his opening tee shot on to the adjacent ninth fairway. However, from there he made birdie and added three more on his way to a superb 71 in the circumstances.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I was skanking it and lost like five balls in the first four holes. I’m like ‘I’m outta here’,” – Scott Piercy explains why he cut his final practice round short before heading home for pizza and an afternoon of looking at his swing on Instagram.
STATISTIC OF THE DAY
The current world’s top 10 were a combined 52 over par for the first round, with a 69 from Dustin Johnson and a 71 from Justin Rose the best scores.
Although the 536-yard par-four 14th hole was playing downwind, it was still the toughest hole with an average of 4.808. Any shot going over the green left a fiendish chip back up the slope and contributed to 49 bogeys, 29 double bogeys and eight triple bogeys or worse.
One of just two par fives on the course, the fifth played as the easiest hole with an average of 4.686, offering up three eagles, 58 birdies and nothing worse than a seven.
ON THE UP
Dustin Johnson’s prospects of becoming the first player to win the US Open in the week after winning on the PGA Tour. Johnson won the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis by six shots.
ON THE SLIDE
Rory McIlroy’s scoring average in the US Open. Since winning it in 2011 with a record total of 16 under par, McIlroy is a combined 53 over.