Friday, June 14, 2013

U.S. Open -- Day One Wrap-Up

In the run-up to the U.S. Open, there was a lot of nervousness about how Merion Golf Club would hold up to modern equipment, and how the weather would affect play.  Against that background, the first day could hardly have gone better.  Yes, there were some weather issues, and the first round still has three or four hours to go.  But all of the guys who teed off in the morning were able to finish, and the big names in the afternoon played at least eight holes.  As for Merion, today it looked like the Fenway Park of golf -- it's old, it's small, and it's odd, but for today it was an ideal venue for its sport.  If you like the traditional East Coast American golf course, you will not find a much prettier course than Merion's East Course.  And while many U.S. Open courses tend to encourage players to play for one par after another, Merion has a mix of easy and difficult holes that lead to dramatic runs of birdies and bogeys.

The result of all this was one of the most impressive recent leaderboards we've seen at a major tournament.  The top four players on the board are all in the top 12 of the FedEx standings.  And other big names like Lee Westwood (1 under thru 13), Rory McIlroy (even through 11), and Ernie Els (even through 8) are lurking.  Tiger hasn't played well so far (2 over through 11), but even he's not yet out of it.

So there could be a lot of drama ahead.  But if the last day comes down to a battle between Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, and Webb Simpson, golf fans should be ecstatic.

Here is the top of the leaderboard after Day One:

1.  L. Donald (ENG):  -4 (13 holes)

T2.  P. Mickelson:  -3 (18)
T2.  A. Scott (AUS):  -3 (11)

T4.  W. Simpson:  -2 (8)
T4.  M. Goggin (AUS):  -2 (6)
T4.  A. Presnell (AUS):  -2 (6)

Number One Son, Number Two Son, and I are all in Philly, and we will be out at the tournament tomorrow, so I won't be posting updates during the day.  I'll try to report in tomorrow night.