The US Open is once again the toughest test in golf as big names crash at Shinnecock Hills.
Dustin Johnson is among of group of four golfers tied for the lead through round one of the 2018 US Open after tough course conditions and blustery winds saw some big names sink to the bottom of the leaderboard.
Johnson’s pre-tournament favoritism was vindicated as the world number one found four birdies in his 1-under par round, which considering the conditions and the brutal nature of Shinnecock Hills was fantastic golf.
“Anything under par on this golf course is very good, especially in the conditions we have today,” Johnson said after the round. “I felt like, you know, from start to finish, it was very difficult.”
Johnson’s round was highlighted by a superb hole-out from the bunker at the eighth hole despite missing the green with a wedge from just 93-yards out.
“It’s always great when you can hole a bunker shot. I mean, I hit a really good shot. It was going to be good, whether it went in or not,”, Johnson said. “But it’s definitely a bonus for it to go in. Probably should have never been there. I mean, I had a wedge.”
Johnson finds himself in a four-way tie for the lead at 1-under par with Americans Scott Piercy and Russell Henley, and England’s Ian Poulter.
And while all eyes are on the leaders, it’s clear that Shinnecock Hills was the winner on Thursday with the tournament returning to what many traditionalists were hoping; a brutal, high scoring US Open that would be the toughest test in golf.
It was a bad day for most of the Australians with Adam Scott and Jason Day turning in high first rounds.
Scott did manage to sneak in two birdies during his 8-over par round but struggled to find greens and required 34-putts once he was on them.
Day too had a day to forget posting a 9-over par 79 with his sole birdie of the day coming at the 16th hole.
To give you some idea of how brutal Shinnecock Hills was playing in the opening round, take a look at some of the names of players who shot 7-over par or more; Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Jon Ram, Ernie Els, Jason Day Rory McIlroy.
Tiger Woods began his day with a disastrous triple-bogey on the first hole. And while Woods managed to steady his round through the rest of the front nine, consecutive double-bogeys at the 13th and 14th holes saw the 14-time major champion well behind the leaders at 8-over par.
This place ate up and spat out the best in the game today. One can only imagine the scores if you played this course, with this setup with your mates on a knockabout golf weekend.