Round One Observations from the U.S. Open
Updated: Thu 6/14/2012 10:31 pm
Now that was a long day of golf. The day started bright and early at The Olympic Club and 13 hours, 24 minutes later Round One was officially in the books at the 2012 United States Open. In four previous U.S. Open Championships held at The Olympic Club, only 4 players finished in red numbers. Heading into Round Two, a total of 6 players currently have bettered par, headlined by Michael Thompson who holds a 3 shot lead after a first round, 4-under par 66.
Thompson's round was quite impressive featuring 7 birdies and 3 bogeys. But the U.S. Open has seen many surprise 18-hole leaders fade quickly into the sunset, so Thompson has a lot to validate in Friday's round.
Rounds I was impressed with -
Woods fires a 1-under par, 69 in which he looked totally in control of his golf ball. While many players were fighting to put their ball in the fairway, Woods was leaning right and left on the tee asking his ball to hit the right mound in the fairway so he had the proper angle into the green. Simply put, he was dialed in beginning with this first show. Despite the distractions of Mickelson and Watson who were shooting themselves out of the tournament, Woods stuck to his conservative game plan off the tee to find 10 of 14 fairways. Two of the fairways he missed his ball was left in the first cut, in position "A" so let's consider it really 12 of 14 for the purpose of our evaluation. Tiger's officially the guy to beat in the 2012 U.S. Open.
Matt Kuchar has been one of the tour's most consistent players over the past two years and he showed why on Thursday, playing in the afternoon at The Olympic Club. Kuchar hit 14 of 18 greens and 7 of 14 fairway to go with his 32 putts for an even par, 70. His round featured two bogeys and two birdies, with many opportunities left on the golf course.
Nobody will need to remind Westwood how difficult the first 6 holes are at this year's U.S. Open. Standing on the short par 4, 7th, Westwood was already 4-over par for the championship and in danger of shooting himself out of the tournament with just a few more loose swings. Westwood made birdie on the drive able par 4, yet gave it back on the par 4, 9th to turn at 4-over. Here is where Westwood impressed me, by posting 7 consecutive pars on holes 10-16, followed by a great up and down from the greenside bunker on 17 to make birdie. After an errant tee shot on 18, Westwood drilled a short iron to the back half of the 18th green where he would two putt for par, finishing at 3-over for the round, only 4 shots behind the group at 1-under par. (No offense to Michael Thompson, but the lead is essentially at 1-under as far as I'm concerned).
I wasn't at Olympic Club to see how the Manchester, MO native struggled on the par 4, 2nd hole in route to a triple bogey, 7. Nor have I spoke with Scott or anyone who witnessed the difficult time had in the early part of his round. Yet what I do know is Langley was playing in only his second U.S. Open Championship, teed off in the first group off the front nine and within minutes of starting his championship was already behind the eight ball. How Langley responded was impressive as he kept his composure to finish at 6-over par for the day and still in the hunt to make the cut at another U.S. Open. Remember, Langley finished tied as low amateur with Russell Henley in his previous U.S. Open appearance. He's not going anywhere anytime soon, so look for a solid bounce back round from Langley on Friday.