Several San Diegans are in contention after the first round of the U.S. Open … but not the one most people would expect to be there.
Crowd favorite Phil Mickelson shot an opening-round 77 at Shinnecock Hills and sits in a tie for 89th place. In each of his two previous U.S. Opens on this incredibly difficult Long Island track, Lefty finished in the top five.
A different player with roots in America’s Finest City is leading this thing. Former San Diego State star Scott Piercy is one of just four players who broke par on Thursday. Piercy had three birdies, two bogeys, and avoided any massive disasters with 13 pars to sit at 1-under par. He’s in a four-way tie for the lead with Ian Poulter, Russell Henley, and 2016 U.S. Open champ Dustin Johnson.
The way Shinnecock Hills is playing, simply staying out of trouble was a miracle.
Not far behind Piercy are Poway High alum Charley Hoffman (1-over), Scripps Ranch High alum and San Diego State All-American Xander Schauffele (2-over), and Murrieta native Rickie Fowler and Torrey Pines High’s Pat Perez (both 3-over). They’re all in the Top-20 after the first round.
Mickelson, he is not the only high-profile player to have a miserable day. His two U.S. Open-winning playing partners had it even worse. Jordan Spieth finished with an 8-over 78 while Rory McIlroy carded a 10-over 80.
Tiger Woods, who has not won a major championship since 2008 at Torrey Pines South, opened with a 78.
It’s an astonishing turnaround from last year when Brooks Koepka tied the tournament scoring record finishing 16-under par at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.
Although the first round is leaving carnage all over the course odds are we will not see a different record set this weekend.
The highest score ever to win the U.S. Open is 17-over, by Walter Hagen in the 1919 event at Brae Burn Country Club in Massachusetts.