Conditions Easy Course Still Tough
Dudley Hart officially opened the 102nd U.S. Open with his tee shot on the 492-yard, par-4 10th. Sixty-eight swings later he was in the clubhouse.
Hart was one of only four men playing in the morning to shoot under par, but it wasnt quite good enough for the mid-day lead; that honor belonged to Sergio Garcia.
Buoyed by an enthusiastic following, Garcia made only one bogey in round one, en route to posting a 2-under 68. His day included a birdie at the fourth, a chip-in birdie at the fifth, and a 20-footer for birdie at the 499-yard, par-4 12th.
Im happy with 68, Garcia said. Maybe I could have asked for a couple of shots less. But I made some really nice key par putts, which maybe leveled out with the birdie putts I missed.
This is the 22-year-old Spaniards third U.S. Open appearance. He tied for 46th at Pebble Beach in 2000, and was one shot off the third-round lead at Southern Hills last year before shooting a Sunday 77 and finishing tied for 12th.
Part of Sergios first-round success was playing holes 10-13 (which, in total, measure well over a mile) in 1-under par. Phil Mickelson said earlier in the week that he would be happy to play the same stretch in even par. Thursday, he did it in 2-under.
For the first time in tournament history, the USGA has employed split tees over the first two rounds. Mickelson teed off on the back nine first Thursday. His second shot of the day, a 3-iron from 217 yards, came to rest inches away from the cup at the 10th. He tapped in for birdie, and then curled in an 15-footer for birdie at the 11th.
The lefthander bogeyed the 12th ' which plays as the longest par-4 in Open history ' but came right back with a birdie at the par-5 13th.
You dont know when your birdies are going to come, you just hope you can get a few during the round, he said.
Mickelson missed the elevated green at the par-4 15th. With his ball entangled in the rough, he tried to pitch to the top tier, but instead watched helplessly as his Titleist came rolling back towards him. He carded a double-bogey, thus giving away all he had fought for over the courses most difficult stretch of holes.
Mickelson went on to shoot even par, and said he was glad to do so.
It was a round of 70 and Ill take it, he said. This is as hard a U.S. Open as Ive played, and thats given we played in perfect conditions.
Harts round was even more erratic than that produced by Mickelson. The sometimes volatile veteran had his patience tested when he hit his tee shot on the par-4 fifth ' his 14th hole of the day ' into the lip of a fairway bunker. He was barely able to advance his second shot out of the hazard, and took a triple-bogey-7.
But instead of blowing a fuse, the Mini Volcano responded with a 25-foot birdie at the seventh, an 18-foot birdie at the eighth and a 35-foot bomb at the ninth ' his last.
My roller-coaster month continues, he said. I have a bunch of good holes and then something crazy happens.
Jeff Maggert and K.J. Choi matched Hart's 69.
Davis Love III was leading the tournament after turning in 3-under 32, but came home in 4-over 39 for a 1-over total.
I hit fairways on the front and missed them on the back, its as simple as that, said the 1996 U.S. Open runner-up.
Defending champion Retief Goosen is among the afternoon participants, as is tournament favorite Tiger Woods, who teed off at 1:35 PM ET.
Full-field scores from the 102nd U.S. Open
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.
Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.
"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."
Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.
"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.
Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.
"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18