Adam Hadwin of Canada shot a 4-under par 66 late on Thursday to secure the lead in the first round of the US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
Hadwin went ahead of Rory McIlroy, who shared the lead at the end of his innings before finishing in a five-way second place at 3-under67.
McIlroy, a four-time major champion from Northern Ireland, drew with Joel Dahmen, England’s Callum Tarren, David Lingmerth from Sweden and MJ Daffue from South Africa. England’s Matt Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose, as well as Dustin Johnson, Hayden Buckley, Matthew NeSmith, Brian Harman and Aaron Wise were split at seven at 2-under 68.
Hadwin put together five birdies in a six-hole stretch to make the turn at 4-under 31. It included three straight birdies at No. 7-9, with his second stroke of par-4 ninth rolling to within 3 feet of the pin.
After a bogey on par-4 12th, Hadwin recovered with a birdie on par-4 13th to re-establish himself as the sole leader.
Hadwin, 34, got his only PGA Tour victory in 2017. He has never finished in the top 20 on a major.
McIlroy went in as the odds-on US Open favorite after winning the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday. He stayed warm and started his day on the back nine with two birdies before holding back-to-back birdies on the seventh and eighth holes to reach 4 under.
But a tough shot from the ninth green gave him a long par putt that he could not convert, and his only bogey for the inning left him out of the direct lead at the end of the day.
“I wanted to try to shoot a round of golf on a really tough course without doing a bogey,” McIlroy said in the NBC broadcast. “I achieved it for 17 holes and then I did not really save par there last time. But overall a really good day. Had some really good pair savers. Hit the ball quite well and it is a good start to the tournament.”
Dahmen, 34, started on the back nine and warmed up late, with birdies on three of his final five holes to join McIlroy and the early mediators. Dahmen made a birdie on three of the four par 3s.
Tarren was even through 15 holes before going birdie-eagle in par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth place to get to the top of the list. Tarren’s second shot at No. 8 is nestled at 5 feet for an easy-going eagle. Ranked No. 445 in the world, the 32-year-old has never won on the PGA Tour or DP World Tour.
Lingmerth is a PGA Tour veteran who won his only career title in 2015. He entered the week ranked even lower than Tarren – No. 592 in the world. He stayed bogey free with three birdies.
Johnson, the 2016 US Open champion, played in the late wave in his first appearance since leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. He shortened four birdies to counter two bogeys.
Rose, the 2013 US Open winner, started at the back nine and posted a colorful card with five birdies and three bogeys. He settled down from there, with another birdie and bogey on the top nine.
Defending champion Jon Rahm of Spain, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas, Will Zalatoris, Max Homa and Australian Adam Scott were part of a large group of 1-under 69s.
Rahm made a wild birdie at No. 18 to finish his round. After his drive missed badly left, he got a free fall behind a mediator tower after someone ran away with his ball. He found the edge on the green and drained a 21-footer for the birdie.
“I’m pretty sure I know who it was,” Rahm said with a grin. “I recognized the two children who ran the opposite way with a smile on their face. I’m 100 percent sure I saw the two children who stole it.”
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Reed, Norway’s Viktor Hovland and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama shot evenly par 70. Bryson DeChambeau posted a 1-over 71, and Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay and Australian Cameron Smith opened with rounds of 2-over 72.
Phil Mickelson was split in 144th place after 8 over 78. After taking a three-month break from the game and eventually choosing to join LIV Golf, he competed on American soil for the first time since January. Mickelson had five bogeys, two double bogeys and just one birdie on his card.
–Field Level Media