Rory McIlroy continued a hectic golf course by shooting 3 under par 67 Thursday morning to hold some of the early lead at the US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
McIlroy was shared in the lead with the Englishman Callum Tarren, David Lingmerth from Sweden and Joel Dahmen with about half the field in the clubhouse.
Hayden Buckley, Matthew NeSmith, Brian Harman and Aaron Wise turned in rounds of 2-under 68 to drag the leaders by one.
The four-time major champion from Northern Ireland entered the championship as the odds favorite after winning the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday. McIlroy kept 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 knocked him out of the direct lead.
“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 on 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, birdieing three of his last five holes to join McIlroy and the teammates. 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 was the only co-leader to stay bogey-free, with birdies at par-3 16th, par-4 18th and par-4 fifth.
Defending champion Jon Rahm from Spain, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris, Max Homa and Australian Adam Scott were part of a large group of 1-under 69.
Rahm made a wild birdie at No. 18 to finish his round. After his drive missed badly left, he got a free drop after someone ran away with his ball. He found the edge on the green and drained a 21-footer for the birdie.
Xander Schauffele and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama shot evenly par 70. Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay opened with rounds 2-over 72.
Notable players who had just started their rounds in the afternoon wave were Phil Mickelson, Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Australian Cameron Smith and Irishman Shane Lowry.
–Field Level Media