Day one of the US Open at Merion Golf Club is in the books despite a rain soaked day full of delays and soggy grass for the best players in the world. Interesting story lines are already emerging as we look forward to an exciting full day of golf as round 2 takes place throughout today.
Phil Mickelson Can Dominate on No Sleep
Our first point of interest from the first round of the US Open is that Phil Mickelson can contend with the best golfers in the world despite not being properly rested. Always a family man, Phil had flown back to attend his daughter’s eighth grade graduation ceremony the night before the first round. He heard his daughter Amanda give a speech to her classmates in which she quoted perhaps the greatest news anchor ever to be made up, Ron Burgundy. Amanda opened her speech by telling her classmates, “In the words of Ron Burgundy, we’re kind of a big deal.”
The ceremony took place on the opposite side of the country, in San Diego, just twelve hours before he was scheduled to tee off on the East Coast. Phil knew it was worth it to be there for his family, proving for the umpteenth time he is a stand up person.
Catching a red eye back to the course, he was lacking a good deal of sleep. He said that he only had a few hours sleep on the plane, and was able to sneak in another hour while the tournament was on rain delay, yet he still produced his best opening round in the US Open since 1999.
Shooting a 4 birdie 67, he is currently sitting in second place in the tournament with a score of -3. Luke Donald has past him with a hot start today, however Phil is yet to tee off, and is presumably catching up on his sleep.
Tiger Woods has an Injured Arm
Tiger Woods is off to a rough start to the tournament, posting a 73 to leave him at +3 and six shots back from the lead. Interesting to point out is that throughout the first round of the US Open, Tiger Woods left arm was visibly bothering him. The great acknowledged this in his post round interview, saying that “My left arm didn’t feel very good.”
Tiger hasn’t won a major tournament in five years, and will need to overcome his arm ailment, and the deficit his first round put him in, as well as shaky putting if he wants to break his losing streak on golf’s biggest stage.
Disappointed in his effort on the greens he told reporters that “I certainly had two 3 putts and I a boatload of putts and the round could have easily been under par.” His putting stroke will need to improve if he wants to come back and contend on Sunday.
Luke Donald is not a Morning Person
Donald started out hot yesterday, getting to four under before darkness fell and going into the clubhouse with the lead. The interesting point in his first round of the US Open is that he still had four holes to play once darkness fell, his round being postponed by the rain delays.
Finishing his first round this morning, he bogeyed twice, on 16 and 18, thus surrendering the lead to Mickleson at the conclusion of the first round. He didn’t resemble the same player that had started so strongly on Thursday just a short period after.
Donald will have his opportunity to take back the lead early on, as he has a 10:22 am tee time. We will see if he can shake the morning plague he suffered earlier in the day.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express
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