Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, NY — September 18, 2020
The U.S. Open began yesterday at Winged Foot Golf Club, just outside of New York City in Mamaroneck, NY. The day was notable, more for what did not happen than what did.
The “golf experts” predicted that Winged Foot and its difficult layout, prepped for Open competition, would bring the world’s best golfers to their knees. They even suggested scores below par would be unlikely. Did Not Happen. Justin Thomas shot a 5 under par 65 on his open round.
This is the 6th U.S. Open that Winged Foot has hosted. In the five previous Opens, only two golfers finished the tournament under par. In the first round, 21 golfers posted red numbers for scores below the par of 70. With three days of competition left the course may recover and chew up the field, but for Day 1 she was left staggering and beaten.
The “golf experts” also predicted that FedEx Cup winner Dustin Johnson was an overwhelming favorite to win his 2nd U.S. Open. On Sunday you are likely to say it “Did Not Happen” as Johnson shot an opening-round 3 over par 73 which tied him for 71st position. He begins Day 2 eight strokes behind the leader and possibly in danger of missing the cut.
Justin Thomas combined six birdies with a single bogey to post his score of 5 under par. Amazing, considering the last time the Open was played at Winged Foot the winner, Geoff Ogilvy, finished at 5 over par. Patrick Reed, Thomas Pieters, and Matthew Wolff sat tied for 2nd at -4. With Reed producing the highlight of the day, a hole in one on the 7th. The ace reversed a double bogey on the 5th, a birdie on the 6th, and 3 more on the back nine comprised his round of 66.
The “Big Cat” can only lament what might have been. Tiger carded 5 birdies on his open round. However, 6 bogies and a double-bogey at 18 left him at 3 over and chasing the cut-line on Day 2.
When you say Woods made 5 birdies in the first round of a U.S. Open, you would expect him to be vying for the lead. Not a pretty day for Tiger.
Rory McIlroy is in contention after Day 1 with an opening-round 67, 3 under par. He was joined by Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen tied for 5th place. Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler, and Jon Rahm joined five other golfers tied for 14th at 1 under par.
Jordan Speith joined Dustin Johnson and Tiger at 3 over par. Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar were in a group at +4 that included defending champion Gary Woodland. PGA Champion Collin Morikawa could only manage a 76, 6 over par on Day 1.
Phil Mickelson has bad memories from the last U.S. Open played at Winged Foot when he was leading at 18 on the final day until a wayward shot cost him the championship. He did nothing to drive that cloud away finishing next to last with a 9 over par 79 that will surely leave him below the cut line on Day 2.
First Round Highlights
First Round Results of the 120th U.S. Open from Winged Foot Golf Club
|Player||To Par||Round 1|
|Rafael Cabrera Bello||-2||68|
|Erik van Rooyen||E||70|
|Chun An Yu||E||70|
|Si Woo Kim||2||72|
|Charles Howell III||3||73|