Scott survives stumble to head Australians at US Open

Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay take the lead through round 1 of the 2024 US Open.

Media release via Jimmy Emmanuel at Australian Golf Media

Having waited until the final moments to confirm his 92nd consecutive major start at the 1,000th USGA championship, Adam Scott showed why he has been a fixture, leading the Aussie charge at the US Open after the opening day at Pinehurst No.2.

Signing for an even par round of 70, Scott is tied for 16th, five back of leading pair Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay, who equalled 2014 champion Martin Kaymer’s course record mark of 5-under 65.

Scott’s fellow major winners from Queensland, Jason Day and Cameron Smith, are the next best of his compatriots in a share of 34th after 1-over 71s, with Min Woo Lee two shots further adrift alongside Kiwi Ryan Fox at 3-over. Jason Scrivener at 4-over and Cam Davis on 7-over round out the Australian contingent.

Playing in the late afternoon, when scores were expected to be higher as the Donald Ross design became firmer with greens rolling between 13 and 14 on the Stimpmeter, Scott authored a late mix of birdies and a double-bogey having felt rejuvenated after finally confirming his place in the field.

“I think generally I played quite well. But I didn’t hit that many shots close when I hit the green, so I was grinding hard,” Scott said. “I didn’t really have many makeable birdie chances. I hit a couple good shots close and made them, and that helps.

“I think just generally, you should be happy if you shoot even par at a US Open, from my experience.”

Making a steady start with six straight pars from the 10th tee, his first hole of the day, Scott stumbled with back-to-back bogeys at the 16th and 17th, before flighting a beautiful wedge to four feet from 114 yards at 18 to set up his first birdie of the day.

The 43-year-old’s next birdie came in more dramatic fashion when he rolled in an 82-foot putt from off the front edge of the fourth green, before another close approach at seven took him to 1-under-par for the day and inside the top-10.

Missing the eighth green left, Scott watched on as his approach putt rolled back down one of Pinehurst’s famed swales almost to his feet and would head to the par-3 ninth over par after taking a double-bogey six.

Once again striking a pure iron from the tee of his last hole, Scott rolled in his fourth birdie of the day from 21 feet to return to even and be well placed at a venue where he has previously finished tied for 28th in 2005 and tied ninth in 2014.

“It’s the same for everyone, but I hit a pretty good shot into eight, and it’s very fine lines here on the greens, and I got a bounce to the left and it went into the worst spot you could miss it and made a double,” he said.

“I felt like I was kind of willing that one in on nine because I felt like I really deserved to shoot even par. I didn’t know why that one shot feels so much better than shooting over par, but it feels like a small victory to say you’ve shot par at a US Open.”

Smith similarly closed his first round with a birdie from over 20 feet at the ninth, the Queenslander also ending his front nine with his only other birdie of the day at the par-4 18th after a wedge that was all over the flag.

Starting his round from the first, it was a tale of two nines for Day. He made the turn without a birdie to his name and 3-over the card before birdies at 10 and 12 got him moving in the right direction until a bogey at 14 slowed his momentum.

The former world No.1 bounced back by finding the bottom of the cup from 46 feet and almost the entire width of the 16th green for birdie.

Like Scott, Lee made double-bogey at the eighth having only been able to move his second shot a matter of metres, with his steady play across the rest of the round another sign of the West Australian’s comfort at the US Open.

Fox similarly had a double on his card of 73, while Scrivener’s lone bright spot came with birdie at the monstrous 619 yard par-5 10th during his first major in almost two years.

The US Open is live on Fox Sports, available on Foxtel and Kayo.

Australasian Scores
T16 Adam Scott EV
T34 Jason Day +1
T34 Cam Smith +1
T65 Min Woo Lee +3
T65 Ryan Fox +3
T86 Jason Scrivener +4
T132 Cam Davis +7

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