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Leishman Leads Australasians After Day One At US Open

Leishman makes solid start on day one (Photo: USGA / Chris Keane)
Marc Leishman heads the Australasian contingent after day one of the US Open Championship at Pebble Beach, his round of 2 under 69, one better than that produced by both Adam Scott and Jason Day.

The 35 year old trails leader Justin Rose by four but, in 16th place, he is well enough placed heading into Friday's second round.

Leishman was out early and, playing with Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, he more than held his own, finishing just one behind McIlroy and tied with Rahm.

Leishman did, however, take some time to get his round moving forward, bogeys at two of his opening three holes an ominous start given he is still to record a top ten in seven previous starts at the US Open.

His first birdie would come at the 13th (his 4th hole) when he holed a sliding left to right 20-footer and he added another at the par 5 18th to make the turn at even par.

Three birdies in succession in the middle of his back nine moved him within two of the lead but a bogey at the last has him at 2 under par in what is an encouraging start.

“Yeah, got off to a pretty ordinary start,” said the Victorian. “A couple over after three holes. I didn't do a whole lot wrong but knew if I kept doing -- hitting good shots, they've got to come eventually. The course was out there to be had and it was nice to fight back and shoot a couple under.

“Greens were a little quicker today but still pretty soft. I think that's going to change a lot as the week goes on, certainly. I wouldn't expect a whole lot of 5-, 6, 7-unders on the weekend. I think it will firm up a lot and be really difficult.

Jason Day made an important 18-foot birdie putt at the last to complete his round in red figures, recovering from a dropped shot at the 17th to leave the golf course with a psychological boost heading into tomorrow’s second round.

He was frustrated by what was a disappointing day from the tee, filly aware of the need to improve his number of fairway hit if he is to be a factor as the week plays out.

“I played okay,” said Day. “I didn't drive it as well as I should have. Kind of got myself out of position. Got a little lucky on 18 to get myself a birdie there at the end.

“But, yeah, I'm going to go work on putting. I hit a lot of good iron shots. I gave myself a lot of looks. But just need to tidy up the driver. You can't miss it where I missed it today.”

Jason Day - a solid start - USGA J.D. Cuban

Adam Scott was also at 1 under 70 making a nice par-saving putt at his last hole (the 9th) after finding trouble from the tee.

It was a day that was better than it appeared according to Scott.

"I hit two really bad wedge shots from the fairway and cost me bogeys when you're really hoping to make one birdie out of those two. And caught me on the back foot there a little bit after a really solid start. I was playing well, and then I kept playing well.

"So I just didn't really take advantage of everything I could have today. But I certainly didn't do any damage. And a good front nine tomorrow morning. Hopefully will be kind of on par with the leaders.

"But you can never not concentrate out here. A mental error, a lapse in concentration is incredibly costly, and that will be the main focus tomorrow."

It wasn't all plain sailing for Scott  - USGA Chris Keane

Cameron Smith birdied his final hole to get his round back to even par and although in a share of 40th place he is just five shots from the early leaders.

Aaron Baddeley was round in 72, Marcus Fraser 73, New Zealander Ryan Fox 74, Matt Jones 74, New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier 76 and Brett Drewitt 77.

The lead is held by Justin Rose who birdied his final three holes to establish an opening round record (65) at the US Open at Pebble Beach.

Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen and Aaron Wise are one behind Rose and just ahead of early leader, Scott Piercy, and surprise performer on day one, the second season PGA Tour player, Nate Lashley.

For Rose it was a round where scrambling was the key to his success having hit just half the fairways and half the greens today.

Scores

 

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