Australia’s Marc Leishman has opened with an impressive 4-under 68 — including a hole-out from a fairway — to be tied for seventh on day one of the US Open.
The 33-year-old Victorian bagged five birdies in his first 12 holes at Wisconsin’s Erin Hills on but made bogey on the 17th hole to end the day three shots adrift of leader Rickie Fowler from the United States.
Leishman won the US PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
The highlight of his round came on the par-four fourth, where he lofted an approach into the middle of the green, before the ball bounced again and turned to land in the hole for a birdie.
Chasing his first major title, 28-year-old Fowler equalled the lowest opening score relative to par in US Open history, joining Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf, who both shot 7-under 63s at Baltusrol in 1980.
“You don’t get many rounds at the US Open that are stress-free,” Fowler said.
“I’ve been swinging really well. I feel like I have great control of the ball right now.”
American Xander Schauffele and England’s Paul Casey finished the day one stroke back from the world number nine Fowler at 6-under after opening rounds of 66.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood, Brian Harman and Brooks Koepka (67) are a further stroke back.
Australian Adam Scott recovered from a poor start, with two birdies and an eagle in his last four holes, to card a level-par 72.
But world number three Day had a horror day, including two triple-bogeys, on the way to a 7-over par round of 79 that placed him tied for 151st out of 156 entrants after round one.
World number five Jordan Spieth, the 2015 US Open winner at then rookie host Chambers Bay, shot 73 while defending champion Dustin Johnson carded a 75.
Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who finally made the breakthrough for his first major at this year’s Masters, had a solid start, shooting a 2-under 70.
The other two Australians in the field, Wade Ormsby and Nick Flanagan, both finished with rounds of 75 to be 10 shots off the pace.
McIlroy hits rough patch
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy’s comments on the decision to cut down heavy rough at Erin Hills came back to haunt him as he struggled to an opening 78 in the 117th US Open.
Tall fescue grass on the fourth, 12th, 14th and 18th holes were being cut on Tuesday as McIlroy gave his pre-tournament press conference, which caught the 2011 champion by surprise.
”Really?” an incredulous McIlroy said. “They’re the widest fairways we’ve ever played in a US Open. You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here. If we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”
Unfortunately for McIlroy, he might well be doing just that on Saturday (AEST).
The 28-year-old followed an eagle on the second – where he drove the green on the 330-yard par four – with four bogeys and double bogeys on the 15th and 17th.