USA TODAY sports columnist Nancy Armour and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sports columnist Gary D’Amato review the days events after the first round of the 117th U.S. Open golf tournament at Erin Hills. video by Mark Hoffman
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
Here’s a look at the top 10 players after the opening round of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. With favorites such as Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy well behind the leaders, Friday could offer some more surprises.
1. Rickie Fowler, 65
In prime position to win his first major championship. Obviously has the game and the mentality to win on golf’s biggest stages. He finished in the top five in all four majors in 2014, including T-2 at the U.S. Open that year.
T2. Paul Casey, 66
The 39-year-old has 16 worldwide victories, with only one PGA Tour win, back in 2009. With an eagle on his opening hole, Casey got off to a terrific start at Erin Hills, which suits his ball-striking style.
T2. Xander Schauffele, 66
The 23-year-old survived a five-man playoff at the Memphis sectional to qualify for the Open. He missed a birdie putt for a chance to tie Fowler on his last hole Thursday, but he made a stellar impression on golf fans watching at home who had never heard of him.
T4. Brian Harman, 67
A lefty has never won the U.S. Open. Last month Harman won the Wells Fargo Championship, his second PGA Tour victory. He holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to beat No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez by one shot, proving he can close out a win on Sunday.
T4. Tommy Fleetwood, 67
The 26-year-old from Southport, England, had his best PGA Tour finish this year when he was second at the WGC-Mexico Championship. According to Golf Digest, Fleetwood kept things simple in the opening round. “The thing I told myself was not to do anything stupid.” He’s actually in Harman’s playing group, teeing off at 1:25 p.m. CT Friday.
T4. Brooks Koepka, 67
The 27-year-old Florida native tied for fourth at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. He’s ranked No. 22 in the world and shot a 65 in the final round of the Valero Texas Open in April to finish second.
T7. Patrick Reed, 68
The Ryder Cup hero would love to pick up some major hardware. He’s won five times on the PGA Tour but hasn’t played great in 2017.
T7. Kevin Na, 68
After gaining attention for his Facebook video criticizing Erin Hills’ fescue, Na let his playing do the talking Thursday. His best finish in six U.S. Opens is a seventh-place result at Oakmont last year.
T7. Marc Leishman, 68
The 33-year-old Australian won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. He came very close to winning the 2015 British Open, getting himself into a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen and eventual winner Zach Johnson.
T7. Adam Hadwin, 68
The Canadian made six consecutive birdies in the opening round, becoming only the third player to do so in Open history. He shot a 59 at this year’s CareerBuilder Challenge.