Rumours of Merion Golf Club’s demise at this year’s U.S Open have seemingly been greatly exaggerated with the course showing it’s got teeth after a weather interrupted first round came to a close on Friday afternoon.
Pre-tournament experts were expecting this to be one of the easiest U.S Open courses for many a year with the torrential rain that fell earlier in the week expected to soften greens and make pins easily accessible, however, it looks like this couldn’t have been further from the truth.
With scores of between 15 and 20-under par being touted on Tuesday as a likely winning score, we are now in a position where contenders could well shoot five or six-under and be in with a real chance of being there or there abouts come Sunday, depending on the conditions.
With the rough so thick that any ball finding it is automatically hidden beyond view and holes such as the 5th and the 18th that are proving almost impossible to play, we could well be in for one of the most exciting U.S Open’s for a while.
The all-American hero Phil Mickelson proved exactly why he’s such a crowd favourite in these parts with some stunning scrambling amalgamated with great iron play to produce a fantastic opening 67 and take the clubhouse lead.
What makes it even more remarkable is the fact ‘Lefty’ didn’t even arrive at Merion until two hours before his 7:11am tee time after attending his daughter’s graduation the evening before.
He beat the red-eye and is in a strong position to contend for what would be his first ever U.S Open title and who would begrudge him a victory in a tournament where has finished runner-up five times previously?
Luke Donald is also after his first US Open crown, or his first ever Major for that matter and he shot five birdies in an opening round of 68 to finish one shot behind Mickelson and in with a real chance with 54 holes still to go.
He’s leading a strong British charge with other first-time Major hopefuls Lee Westwood and Justin Rose in the top 20 after strong opening rounds of 70 and 71 respectively. Could this be the Major where an Englishman finally fulfils their potential or will they be made to wait yet again?
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