Sepp Straka finished the first round of the US Open with more than one mixed round. The Austrian-American scored seven equal goals at the third major tournament of the year at Brooklyn (Massachusetts) Country Club on Thursday (local time). A quartet led by Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, each with three below par, some players like Phil Mickelson or Scotty Scheffler had yet to finish the tour.
Straka suffered a bogey and a double bogey in the first four holes. The second nine holes also started unpopular for the 29-year-old with four-stroke losses in a row. Straka then played the rest of the round evenly. Born in Vienna, he is competing in the US Open for the second time in his career. Three years ago, he finished 28th at Pebble Beach, his best finish ever in a major event.
At first, McIlroy, the co-favourite, took the lead with Englishman Calum Tarin, Swede David Lingmerth and American Joel Dahmen. The Northern Irish, who arrived in good shape, won the 2011 US Open. He scored his only bogey of the day on the last hole of all places. “I wanted to stay ghost-free today. I worked 17 holes,” said the 33-year-old.
Champion defender John Ram, like British Open winner Colin Morikawa, was one of the few, with Ram unsuccessfully searching for his ball after a shot on the tee on the last hole. Two kids seem to have taken this as a souvenir. The Spaniard laughed, “I saw them running away with smiles on their faces.” He finished his round with a fresh ball unchecked.
Six-time championship winner Mickelson started poorly on his 52nd birthday with three ghosts in his first five pits. The American faced many uncomfortable questions in the run-up to the US Open due to his participation in the controversial Saudi series LIV. Of the 156 golfers who played at Brookline, 13 played on the LIV Tour last week in London. Austrian golfer Bernd Weisberger was also represented there. Burgenlander missed the US Open qualifiers like Matthias Schwab.
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