17 Jun 2022 | Professional golf |

Scott leads Aussie charge at US Open

by PGA of Australia

Adam Scott Brookline image
Adam Scott hits in iron shot on his way to a 69 at Brookline today. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

Adam Scott’s 84th consecutive major championship is off to a strong start, the Queenslander just three back after a round of one-under 69 at the US Open at The Country Club in Brookline.

Hosting the US Open for the first time since 1988, the iconic layout at The Country Club tested players in every way you would expect at a US Open, strengthening afternoon winds only adding to the challenge.

Out in the eighth group of the day, Scott had the better of conditions and took full advantage.

The only one of the seven Aussies in the field to break par on day one, Scott moved into red numbers early with an exquisite birdie at the 208-yard par-3 second but gave that shot back when he missed the green left at the par-3 sixth.

Hitting just 50 per cent of greens in regulation, Scott was forced to scrap for par after par until the par-4 18th where a wedge to six feet set up a closing birdie.

Boasting the longest active major streak by 37 championships, Scott told Australian Golf Digest’s Evin Priest that it was a positive step forward in his quest for a second major title.

“The first round of a US Open is all about getting yourself in the fight. I did a pretty good job of that today,” said the 2013 Masters champion.

“My focus will be everything the next three days. I have to stay in the battle of really wanting this thing.

“It’s do or die kind of stuff. But I feel really good about where my game is. I feel really comfortable, so maybe that’ll help keep my mind where it needs to be.”

Although the US Open has not proven to be a happy hunting ground in his career to date, Marc Leishman is also in good position following the opening round.

Despite hitting just five of 14 fairways Leishman hit 12 of 18 greens in regulation in his round of even par 70.

Two over through 11 holes after starting his championship from the 10th tee, Leishman rolled in a 20-footer for birdie at the par-4 third and added two more at six and eight to end the day square with the card.

Making his major championship debut 30-year-old Todd Sinnott made an impressive start to his US Open, posting 71 to be tied for 42nd.

Bogeys at two, five and six put Sinnott on the back foot early but he responded first with a birdie at the par-5 eighth and then played a sublime pitch into the par-5 14th that left a tap-in birdie to get back to one-over.

Defying his recent struggles with the driver, Cameron Smith hit 10 of 14 fairways in Round 1 yet was unable to convert it into an under-par round.

Smith posted two-over 72 on day one, hitting 67 per cent of greens in regulation but requiring 32 putts, six more than Scott to be six shots off the lead after the first round.

Just two weeks after his sister Minjee’s US Women’s Open win, Min Woo Lee made a bright start but gave up shots late in a three-over 73.

After a bogey at two Lee made birdies at four and five, making the turn in even par following a bogey at the par-4 ninth.

He made par putts from long range at 12 and 13 to remain even par but bogeys at 15, 16 and 18 undid much of his earlier good work.

Lucas Herbert also fell foul of Brookline late but, unlike Lee, did the majority of damage in one hole.

After trading five bogeys with four birdies to be one-over through 17, Herbert struck trouble in the deep rough at the back of the par-4 ninth.

He hit his approach shot to the rough back-left of the green and then moved the ball just three yards in his first attempt to extricate it from the long grass.

He found the green with his next pitch but proceeded to three-putt for triple bogey and a round of four-over 74.

Seven-over through his first seven holes in a major championship made it a difficult day for Jed Morgan, the Queenslander ending Round 1 with a 12-over 82. US Open Round 1 scores

Leader Adam Hadwin (66) T14 Adam Scott (69) T26 Marc Leishman (70) T42 Todd Sinnott (71) T57 Cameron Smith (72) T79 Min Woo Lee (73) T102 Lucas Herbert (74) 153 Jed Morgan (82)

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