16 Jun 2023 | Professional golf |

Aussies battle on record-setting day at US Open

by Tony Webeck

Cameron Smith US Open Rd 1-news

The US Open single round scoring record fell twice within 20 minutes but only two Australians broke par in Round 1 at Los Angeles Country Club in California.

American Rickie Fowler was the first to post 62 for the first time in US Open history – six players had shot 63 dating back to Johnny Miller in 1973 – before Xander Schauffele matched the 8-under total just two groups further back.

Open champion Cameron Smith and two-time DP World Tour Min Woo Lee were the only Aussies to end day one in red numbers, both sitting seven strokes off the lead with rounds of 1-under 69.

Out in the third group of the day off the 10th tee, Lucas Herbert birdied 13, 15 and 18 in his round of even-par 70 with Cam Davis making birdies at six and 18 in his round of 2-over 72.

Kiwi Ryan Fox continued his strong performances in major championships with a 2-under 68 to sit in a tie for 14th after Round 1 with Smith and Lee both a shot back in a share of 25th heading into Round 2.

With an expectation that the USGA will set the golf course up in a way that provides par with better protection in Round 2, Smith and Lee are close enough if they can go sub-70 again on Friday.

A birdie at the par-5 first was an ideal start for Smith but he struck trouble when he became entangled in the gnarly waste area short of the green at the 315-yard par-4 sixth.

It took the 29-year-old three shots to advance from the native area and onto the green, ultimately making an eight-foot putt for bogey to drop back to even par.

Birdies at eight and 10 were steps in the right direction but further birdies proved elusive, a 20-footer for birdie on 17 briefly elevating him to 2-under before a final bogey on 18 to post 69.

Where Smith struggled, Lee picked up his first birdie of the day.

A precisely clipped pitch from short of the green on six left the West Australian with just five feet uphill for birdie, an opportunity he duly converted.

Unable to get up and down from the greenside bunker, Lee dropped a shot at the par-3 seventh but got that back at the very next, getting up and down from just short of the green to make birdie at the par-5 eighth.

On a day in which he hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation, Lee hit a superb shot into nine feet to set up birdie at the 254-yard par-3 11th before a final bogey at the par-5 14th after going from left rough to right rough and then finding the bunker short of the green.

Top 30 at THE PLAYERS Championship, The Masters and the US PGA this year, Fox had just one bogey in his round of 2-under 68.

He hit just seven of 13 fairways but scrambled brilliantly, making birdies at eight, nine and 12 and only dropping a shot when he missed a par putt from seven feet at the par-4 13th.

Major champions Adam Scott and Jason Day are both pack in the pack after rounds of 3-over 73 while amateur Karl Vilips impressed in his major debut, dropping shots at 17 and 18 in a round of 4-over 74.

Australasian Round 1 scores T14 Ryan Fox 68 T25 Cameron Smith 69 T25 Min Woo Lee 69 T38 Lucas Herbert 70 T83 Cam Davis 72 T108 Adam Scott 73 T108 Jason Day 73 T123 Karl Vilips (a) 74

Round 2 tee times AEST 12.51am* Cam Davis, Kurt Kitayama, Russell Henley 1.02am* Cameron Smith, Sam Bennett, Matt Fitzpatrick 1.24amMin Woo Lee, Davis Thompson, Justin Suh 1.46am* Karl Vilips (a), Olin Browne Jr, David Puig 5.37amLucas Herbert, Scott Stallings, Preston Summerhays (a) 6.32amJason Day, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler 6.32am* Adam Scott, Gary Woodland, Corey Conners 7.05am* Ryan Fox (NZ), Matthew McClean (a), Seamus Power

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