Rickie Fowler (65) takes lead after early birdie-fest at U.S. Open

USGA/Jeff Haynes

Rickie Fowler (65) takes lead after early birdie-fest at U.S. Open

PGA Tour

Rickie Fowler (65) takes lead after early birdie-fest at U.S. Open

Here is a recap of the first round of the U.S. Open, played at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.:

LEADING: Rickie Fowler is here to play. Fowler made it look simple Thursday, making seven birdies and going bogey-free in a 7-under 65 at Erin Hills. It was flawless golf, and Fowler was actually 6 under through 11 on the round. Even though he cooled off at the end, he finished the day with a one-shot lead. This may be a huge moment for the 28-year-old Fowler, who has shown so much promise but is still searching for his first major. Despite a missed cut at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, he had come in on great form, posting six top-16 finishes in his last nine starts. He was a 36-hole co-leader at the Masters and was just one shot back heading into the final round. But he posted a final-round 76. This might be a chance at redemption. Through 18 holes, he’s making the most of his U.S. Open.

CHASING: The red numbers flowed on Day 1 at the Open, as a nearly wind-free Erin Hills was mostly helpless. Paul Casey and Xander Schauffele both posted at 6 under (Schauffele doing so in his major championship debut round, no less). Brooks Koepka, Brian Harman and Tommy Fleetwood all came in at 5 under.

SHOT OF THE DAY: Not the only eagle hole-out on Thursday, but it was certainly the coolest one. Henrik Stenson struggled to a 2-over 74 but had this shining moment on his second shot at the par-4 11th.

QUOTABLE: “You don’t get many rounds at the U.S. Open that are stress-free.” – Fowler after his opening 65

SHORT SHOTS: As we said, this round was littered with red numbers. A record 44 players broke par in the opening round. Per the PGA Tour’s Sean Martin, the previous opening-round record at this tournament was 39 at the 1990 Open at Medinah. … Patrick Reed posted at 4 under, as did Kevin Na. Remember, Na criticized the fescue in a video days ago. He stood by those comments after 68. … Lee Westwood and Andrew “Beef” Johnston were at 3 under. Scottie Scheffler, an incoming senior at Texas, leads the amateur contingent at 3 under (T-11). … Ernie Els is T-18 at 2 under despite a bogey-bogey finish. … Masters champion Sergio Garcia is also 2 under, as is incoming Texas A&M senior Cameron Champ. … Dru Love, Davis Love III’s son, shoots 71 to sit in a tie for 29th. …  Jordan Spieth shoots 1 over to find himself in a tie for 61st. … But many big names struggled way worse on Day 1. Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot 75 to sit T-102. Jon Rahm struggled to a 76 (T-114). But that was nothing compared to Rory McIlroy (6 over, T-143) or Jason Day (7 over, T-151).

UP NEXT: The second round commences Friday with FS1 taking the coverage from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern before FOX has it from 6-9 p.m. Eastern. Follow all the action live on Golfweek.com and our Facebook and Twitter feeds.


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