The monster is a mouse, at least that’s the first impression after the opening round of the U.S. Open.
The beast that Erin Hills was supposed to be didn’t show up as players took advantage of wide fairways, little wind and receptive greens on Thursday.
With his seven-under 65, Rickie Fowler leads Paul Casey and American Xander Schauffele by one shot and more storms are threatening to soften the course even more.
In taking the lead, Fowler tied the U.S. Open record for lowest score in relation to par, while a total of 44 players were under par, also a record.
A Canadian also got into the record books when Adam Hadwin reeled off six consecutive birdies.
Starting on the 10th hole, Hadwin looked like he was in for a rough day when he put up consecutive bogeys on 12 and 13, but a birdie on 18 started the consecutive birdies that carried on until the fifth hole of his back nine.
After a bogey on six, he added another birdie on eight to post a four-under 68 that has him tied for seventh, three shots off the lead.
Adam Hadwin's last six holes
He has tied the U.S. Open record for most consecutive birdies. pic.twitter.com/L81MGWlJDH
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 15, 2017
“I felt like I had been playing pretty well the last three or four weeks. I just hadn’t been able to show the results on the scorecard – kind of the same thing the first few holes. I hit some okay shots and next thing you know, I’m two over pretty quickly,” said Hadwin, who watched it turn in his favour with the birdie binge.
“I knew how many I made. I thought it was pretty cool. You don’t often see that in a U.S. Open, but there’s way too many holes out here where one bad shot could be a double bogey quickly, so I did a really good job of staying present, staying focused on the next shot,” he said.
“The greens were very receptive. Your spinning wedge shots you could hold mid-iron, so if you kept it in the fairway, you had some scoring opportunities. I did that for kind of the middle part of the round. A little scramble early, but I made some putts,” he added.
Going into Friday’s second round, Hadwin remains vigilant that the breaks can go the other way as well and looming dark clouds may not only be about the weather that’s expected at Erin Hills.
“What I think is great about this tournament is the challenge, the mental challenge. You know it’s going to be difficult and you know you’re going to hit some bad shots, probably get some bad breaks and all that kind of stuff, but to just kind of hang in there and battle through it, have some fun and sort of really appreciate how difficult things can be sometimes,” he said.
Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., who made it into the field through sectional qualifying, shot a four-over 76.
To listen to an interview Hutch did with Hadwin going into the U.S. Open, click here.
The leaderboard is here.
PGA Tour Latinoamerica
Derek Gillespie of Oshawa, Ont., and Devin Carrey of Burnaby, B.C., each shot four-under 68s in the first round of the BMW Jamaica Classic in Montego Bay, where both were tied for 10th before first round play was suspended due to darkness.
Click here for the leaderboard.
Albin Choi of Toronto, Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., and Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., each shot two-under 68s to open the Air Capital Classic in Wichita, Ks., on Thursday.
That trio will go into Friday tied for 32nd with players still on the course after play was called due to darkness.
That leaderboard is here.
Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada
Robby Shelton of Wilmer, Ala., shot an eight-under 63 on Thursday at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club to take the first-round lead at the GolfBC Championship in Kelowna, B.C.
Shelton had nine birdies and a bogey to lead by one over Evan Bowser of Dearborn, Mich., going into the second round.
Jamie Sadlowski of St. Albert, Alta., fired a 66 and is tied for seventh, three shots off the lead.
Sponsor exemption Matt Hopley of Kamloops became the youngest player ever to compete on the Mackenzie Tour (15 years, one day). Hopley opened with a 75.
Riley Wheeldon of Comox, B.C. recorded a hole in one with a six iron from 180 yards on the par three 13th hole.
Click here for the leaderboard.