Adam Hadwin leads, Rory McIlroy hunts at US Open

Adam Hadwin leads, Rory McIlroy hunts at US Open

Placeholder while loading article actions

BROOKLINE, Mass. – So who do you like in this six-man tangle near the top of the US Open standings after the first round? Are you taking the players known only to golf’s eggheads and ranked 592nd, 445th, 296th, 130th, or 105th? Do you take the 445th ranked English guy whose clubs got stuck at Toronto airport so he had to walk around here on Sunday with just a wedge? Do you take the 592nd-ranked Swede who hadn’t played in a major tournament in five years but entered this one after playing his last three qualifying holes in the darkness of Ohio and then not didn’t qualify, then came in when Martin Kaymer retired?

Or do you take Rory McIlroy?

Of course you do on the latter, but they’re all up there, so many that at 5:42 p.m. Thursday there was a seven-way tie for first place between some people you know and some you don’t. never thought you knew: MJ Daffue, Joel Dahmen, Matt Fitzpatrick, Adam Hadwin, David Lingmerth, McIlroy and Callum Tarren.

It’s true, apparently, and then in the evening, they had trembled a little: the Canadian Hadwin in the lead at 4 under par and a simple equality at five for second place among the Englishman Tarren, the Swede Lingmerth, the South -African Daffue, the American Dahmen and global icon McIlroy (who hails from Northern Ireland).

“You would do 67 on this course any day,” McIlroy had said earlier, and you would do it because five people clearly did it.

The group was thick and populated under Hadwin’s 66, although he lost Fitzpatrick, the hip pick of connoisseurs, when he bogeyed No. 18. Fitzpatrick would be the 27-year-old Englishman from Sheffield ranked 18th in the world who won the United States in 2013. Amateur on this very Country Club course which rarely hosts majors, making his experience here unusual on the course, and who came close last month at the PGA Championship in Tulsa, lamenting his close 3 of 73 committing accuracy with, “I’m shooting level by today, and I’m outright winning it.

Svrluga: Rory McIlroy beat Phil Mickelson, but golf’s us vs them era is just beginning

On Thursday night, again in contention at 2 cents, he called it ‘different’ for being the hip pick and said: ‘I have fond memories of the place, and all the time I ‘ve been outside, I see blows that I hit and I see places where I was. I think thanks to that, I’m a little more comfortable.

He thrived on a course players seemed to like but couldn’t quite bury. Nobody hit 5 cents all day, only Hadwin and McIlroy ever hit 4 cents, but a lot of people were under par: 25 of them in all. They included 12 people at 1 under and two former US Open champions (Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose) among the seven at 2 under.

It became the second consecutive major in which McIlroy announced the claim early, following his opening 65 at the PGA. (He finished eighth.) “I go into tomorrow with the mindset of ‘Let’s keep it going’ rather than ‘Where’s the cut line? or whatever,” he said, having refrained from deepening the chasm he has in some of the long and hazy 28 majors since his last major win at the 2014 PGA Championship.

With a final and a 62 win at the Canadian Open on Sunday fresh in the books, McIlroy answered a question about whether he was motivated by the loud defections at Saudi-backed LIV Golf. “Not really,” he said. “It’s been eight years since I won a major, and I just want to do one again.”

Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa battle the odd to start US Open

It started early and those who did often prospered. Five holes with no wind, defending champion Jon Rahm himself had a moment where, he said, “I was thinking, ‘We’re going to blow the roof off this place.’ Defending British Open champion Collin Morikawa, a two-time major winner at 25, called it “gettable,” a word shelved if not condemned at most US Opens. Both shot 1-under 69 Then Rahm et al started to feel the crosswinds, and the crosswinds became lasting in the afternoon, and the scores leveled off, if not wild.

Throughout, the galleries continued to be presented to people.

Here came Hadwin, 34, late in the day, ranked 105th, ranked third among Canadians, his only PGA Tour winning the 2017 Valspar Championship.

“It’s been a year of preparation, really,” Hadwin said. “We went on a trip, I think, last March, [swing coach Mark Blackburn] and I. Not changing the golf swing but changing the face of the club in the swing, which can be more difficult in itself.

Here comes 31-year-old Tarren, ranked 445th, playing in two lifetime majors (the 2019 US Open the other), so make it two majors in which his clubs haven’t made it to baggage claim. “I’m going there [from Toronto], no clubs,” he said. “There were five other players on my flight. They all have golf clubs, so this was the second US Open I played, and the second time, no golf clubs. He solved it on Monday with the help of some of those 38 million helpful souls: Canadians.

Here came Lingmerth, 34, ranked 592nd, a long seven years after winning the 2015 Memorial. “Yeah, I’ve struggled since late 2018,” he said. “Had a bunch of injuries and so on. There have been tough days, I’m not going to lie, and you kind of start asking yourself these questions. But I’m pretty stubborn and I’m not one to give up.

Here comes Dahmen, 34, ranked 130th and in his ninth major and relishing a run nice enough to refrain from demanding everyone hit him like Hercules (or McIlroy). “If you look at my game and who I am,” he said, “for me to do six years of touring and playing this well, that’s probably too good, some would say. I wasn’t entirely American. I wasn’t the best. . . . I knew I could compete here because it’s not too long. Yeah, like the winged foot [in 2020] My brand. I had no chance of fighting there.

And here is Daffue, 33, whose life changed at 11 when he and his father played a trick with two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen, a fellow South African who still cheers him on. “We never really talked about advice,” he said. “The one time I asked him, I said, ‘Hey, how do you do so well under pressure at the US Open? He said, ‘I just did it a few times.’ It makes a lot of sense, actually. The more you do it, the more you get used to it.

And, of course, here comes McIlroy. You’ve heard this before.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.