Round 1 of the U.S. Open frequently leaves some relative unknowns in the lead. No different this year. Justin Hicks and Kevin Streelman each had 3 under 68s to share a one stroke lead over Stuart Appleby, Eric Axley, Rocco Mediate, and Geoff Ogilvy. Streelman made some noise earlier this year at the Buick Invitational when he was paired with Tiger Woods. The best info I could get on Hicks is that he finished 80th on the Nationwide Tour money list last year. Congrats to both leaders. It'll be fun to see how they handle the second round.
Dream pairing Woods, Mickelson, Scott was rather mundane. Mickelson was even par, which was pretty good after a 38 on the front. Woods was +1, 72 after a 38 on the back. Scott finished +2, 73. Woods grimaced after his tee shot on 18, leading us to believe the knee is a bother. That was an Average Golfer prediction and I can't imagine it's going to get any better over the next three days. The same three will play together tomorrow afternoon.
Rounds of note from big names include Ernie Els, -1. Could have been -3 or -4 other than some sloppy play in the end of his round. Lee Westwood, -1. Trying to disprove the "Brits stink here" theory. Luke Donald and Vijay, even par.
Notables that most likely played themselves out of the tournament on day1 include, defending champ Angel Cabrera, +8. He was eight over after his first eight holes. Justin Rose and Paul Casey, +8. Both proving the "Brits stink here" theory. Monty, +7. Oh dear! Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Ian Poulter, and previous champion Michael Campbell, all at +7.
If the weather stays dry this golf course will continue to get more difficult. I watched many seemingly perfect approach shots land on greens and bound to the back and tumble off. The greens are hard and fast. The back side of greens is not the place to be at this venue. All in all the course is in remarkable condition. Not many players were complaining. The most commonly heard comment was that it was "tough, but fair". there's a lot of tee box options and I'm anxious to see how the U.S.G.A. deals with them in the coming days.
I've mentioned it before, but now I'm convinced. ESPN should never be allowed to broadcast a golf tournament, any tournament, much less a U.S. Open. Their annoying on- screen graphics reduced the size of my visible screen by 40%. I'd rather watch a test pattern. Listening to Chris Berman as a lead golf announcer at a major is like listening to "Fred Flintstone Sings Pavarotti".
This time tomorrow will reveal the field when the real tournament starts on Saturday. It'll be fun to watch these guys scramble for position. Sometimes the high drama is on Friday.