BETHESDA, Md. – Though the draw of the U.S. Open might have seemed a little unfair to the players in the Thursday morning wave that had to start their round on the par-3 10th hole, it eventually evened out for the field. Of the top nine players on the leaderboard at Congressional, five of them started on the 10th.
Among them was Brazilian Alexandre Rocha, who sits at 2 under after a 69 to start his first ever major championship. Rocha says his subsequent round doesn’t say much about the 10th at all, despite making a par there.
“My first tee shot ever in a major championship was the 10th hole out here at Congressional. It’s a 4-iron over the water the whole time. I’ve never, ever, ever been so nervous in my life. Ever. The only thing I could feel was my heartbeat go off my chest but nothing else, no other body parts,” he said.
“And something clicked after that. I was walking down the hole thinking you just got done with the worst part, the most difficult part was that first tee shot, and for whatever reason that really calmed me down.”
One down, 71 to go, right? Rocha makes it seem like the sum of the rest of the holes he plays this week will all be easier than that first. He is under no illusion, though, that the actual execution for the remainder of the tournament will be difficult.
“This course out there, it is brutal, right? It is the toughest test in golf. There’s no question about it. And over the course of four days, you’ll see that it will play as such, I think.”