Justin Rose Shoots Sparkling 65 to Lead US Open at Pebble Beach
A vintage display of putting kept Tiger Woods in the hunt for a 16th major title, but it was playing his partner Justin Rose who led the way after the first round of the US Open at Pebble Beach.
Rose, who won the title at Merion in 2013, birdied his final three holes to card an opening six-under-par 65, equalling the lowest round in a US Open at Pebble Beach set by Woods on his way to a record 15-shot victory in 2000.
Woods struggled badly with his game but scrambled superbly and single-putted 11 greens to card a 70, the same score he posted in the first round at Augusta National in April.
Rose led by one from former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and the American trio of Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele and Aaron Wise, with Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Francesco Molinari part of a group on three under.
“The only reason I knew my putt on the last was to match Tiger’s score is that Rickie had that same putt earlier and I was watching some of the [television] coverage,” Rose said. “I thought this would be kind of cool doing this in front of the great man himself.
“I don’t know if I did a good job of anything other than scrambling today so it’s good to know you can shoot a score like that and have something left in the tank.”
Woods had three birdies and a double bogey in four holes on the front nine before finishing with 11 pars, the most notable courtesy of a 30-foot par putt on the 14th after thinning a bunker shot across the green.
“I putted well but I was trying to just hang in,” Woods said. “It was just one of those days and Rosey proved the golf course could be had. He struggled for a little bit, fought it off and what an incredible finish.”
McIlroy had earlier produced the start he wanted. All four of his previous major victories came after a first round in the 60. McIlroy dropped a shot at the 10th, his opening hole, but played the next 17 in four under. He won the US Open in 2011 US Open but admits that his record since then is "pathetic".
“I think I did what I wanted to do, which was hit it in the fairways for the most part, hit a lot of greens and when I didn’t I was able to get it up and down,” McIlroy said.
“I did everything you need to do in a US Open, I stayed patient after I bogeyed the first and played really solid after that so I did what you are supposed to do, make a lot of pars, chip off the birdies when you can and it was a good day’s work.
“It’s important for everybody (to make a fast start) but especially trying to get my way back to winning these big events it is important. The first two majors this year I shot 73 at Augusta and over par at Bethpage as well and it’s so hard to chase, especially when courses are so tough
“To get off to such a good start you are right in the tournament from the start which is a nice position to be in.”
Fowler has had eight top-five finishes in majors without winning one, four of them coming in one season in 2014.
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