US Open Golf 2018: Dustin Johnson Leads, Field Struggles in Nightmarish Thursday | Bleacher Report

SOUTHAMPTON, NY - JUNE 14:  Dustin Johnson of the United States takes his third shot on the fifth hole during the first round of the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on June 14, 2018 in Southampton, New York.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Warren Little/Getty Images

The fears heading into the 2018 U.S. Open were well-deserved, with the course at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club proving to be difficult for the world’s best golfers.

Dustin Johnson handled the challenge, shooting a 69 Thursday to take a share of the lead after Round 1. Ian Poulter, Russell Henley and Scott Piercy are among those tied for first at one stroke under par. 

However, only five out of 156 golfers were at par or better through a wild first day of action in Southampton, N.Y.

         

Round 1 Leaderboard

T1. Dustin Johnson (-1)

T1. Russell Henley (-1)

T1. Scott Piercy (-1)

T1. Ian Poulter (-1)

5. Jason Dufner (E)

T6. Byeong Hun An (+1)

T6. Justin Rose (+1)

T6. Matthieu Pavon (+1)

T6. Charles Howell (+1)

T6. Charley Hoffman (+1)

T6. Sam Burns (+1)

T6. Henrik Stenson (+1)

Full results available at USOpen.org.

                        

Tough Course Kills Title Hopes for Tiger, Spieth, McIlroy and More

You can’t win a golf tournament on the first day, but you can lose it, or at least give yourself a tough road.

Several top contenders find themselves well down the standings after miserable first days in Shinnecock Hills.

Tiger Woods was one of the bigger disappointments in his first U.S. Open appearance since 2015. The superstar had rough start, going four-over in his first two holes, including a first-hole triple bogey. While he appeared to settle on the rest of the front nine, he collapsed down the stretch.

Woods was driving well off the tee but couldn’t do anything with his putter, as Michael Collins of ESPN joked:

A four-putt on the 13th hole led to back-to-back double bogeys, helping him finish with a 78.

Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy represented one of the most exciting groups entering the tournament with three players just one major away from a career Grand Slam. Unfortunately, they looked more like amateurs in Round 1.

Spieth’s 78 was the lowest of his career at any major, per Justin Ray of Golf Channel. McIlroy (80) tied his worst score of 10-over for a major, per ESPN Stats and Info.

Adding in Mickelson’s 77, and there weren’t a lot of happy faces following the round:

Jason Day also never got a handle of the frame and finished with a 79. Putts that looked like this didn’t help:

Fellow top-10 players Jon Rahm (78), Brooks Koepka (75) and Hideki Matsuyama (75) also had poor rounds.

While not a household name, Scott Gregory showed how tough the course was with his 92, the worst round at a U.S. Open since 2002, per Bob Harig of ESPN.

The overall struggles from the field minimize the blow from these starts, but the stars on this list could have a tougher time making the cut than anticipated. 

           

What’s Next?

Round 2 will take place Friday at Shinnecock Hills, beginning at 6:45 a.m. ET. The featured group of Tiger WoodsJohnson and Justin Thomas will tee off at 8:02 a.m. while Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson will wait until the afternoon for their 1:47 p.m. tee time.

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