South Korea’s Byeong Hun An ground out a one-over-par 71 in blustery conditions to emerge as the leading Asian after the first round of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills.
An, who lost in a playoff at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago, is in T6 position and two shots behind first round leaders Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, Russell Henley and Scott Piercy The 26-year-old went out with two bogeys on his outward nine from 10 but fought back with birdies on one and four against another dropped shot on seven to enjoy his best position after day one in what is his fifth start at the US Open. Countryman Si Woo Kim, the 2017 Players Championship winner, shot for a 73 to lie in T19.
Making his debut at the US Open, India’s 21-year-old Shubhankar Sharma produced a battling 74. He turned in one-over with three bogeys against two birdies and dropped three more bogeys coming in to sign off the day in T37. Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama shot a 75 while Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand carded a 76.
Jason Dufner shot a 70 and is alone in fifth place. Tied for sixth at 71 are Matthieu Pavon of France, 2013 US. Open champion Justin Rose, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman, Sam Burns, former Open Championship winner Henrik Stenson and An.
It was believed that the morning wave would have an advantage, but windy conditions quickly dried the course from Wednesday’s rain and made the greens difficult from the onset. Only two players from the morning were able to break par—Piercy and Poulter.
Defending champion Brooks Koepka shot 75 but wasn’t overly concerned. “I think everybody was just trying to grind it out,” he said. “It’s a US Open. You can shoot, whatever, 5-over today and shoot 1-under tomorrow and be just fine going into the weekend. So, I’m not too concerned.”
The conditions created some high scores. Rory McIlroy shot 80 to match his highest score in a major. Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson shot 77, and Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth shot 78. Jason Day shot 79.
Tiger Woods opened the day with a triple bogey and a bogey. He seemed to settle down until taking back-to-back double bogeys at Nos. 13 and 14, including a four-putt, and finished with a 78.
“It’s tough out there, but I shouldn’t make two doubles and a triple, four-putt,” Woods said. “For most of the day I just didn’t putt well.”