Observations from Round 1 of the U.S. Open
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – With the Monterey Peninsula enveloped in a sun-splashed, though crispy-cool day, it occurs to first-round observers of the U.S. Open that the folks in Japan might be able to see Ryo Ishikawa from their 10th-floor windows.
He is, after all, dressed top-to-bottom in a vibrant pink.
U.S. Open: Round 1 at Pebble Beach
First-round action from the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links.
What, Paula Creamer left her closet unlocked? Maybe so, because she has been on the DL. Regardless, Ishikawa lived up to the boldness by shooting 1-under 70 to get into a tie for fourth.
Now, for some other first-day thoughts, observations and sidelights:
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie – Hopefully the folks Down Under weren’t waiting up to watch the pairing of Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and Robert Allenby. They shot 79, 77, 73, respectively - a whopping 16 over combined. (It was Ogilvy’s highest score in 23 U.S. Open rounds.)
New territory – With a 2-under 69, Paul Casey secured a share of the first-round lead. In seven prior U.S. Opens, Casey had never opened better than 74 and had never been better than 83rd after the first day.
Still not exploding out of the blocks – Since shooting 68 and 70 to trail by two after each of the first two rounds of the Masters, Tiger Woods has been a brutally slow starter. He has played 11 complete rounds since and has never been closer than four strokes at a day’s end. With a 74 in Round 1 here, he trails by five.
Guess we’re not at Turnberry – There will be no repeat of his British Open magic from a year ago, nor of his 1982 Pebble Beach theatrics. That’s because Tom Watson played the back nine in 39 and shot 78.
And we’re not at Bethpage, either – A year ago, Lucas Glover won the U.S. Open in a five-day marathon played in mud and slop out on Long Island. What is the biggest difference this year? “One pair of shoes might do this week,” he said.
Hey, I know you – Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank played practice rounds together Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. And there they were in Group 13, paired together, along with Matt Kuchar. Thankfully, they’re great friends, “but he might be a little sick of me,” Verplank said, laughing.
Not quite the power of positive thinking – Leonard has missed two straight cuts and hasn’t finished inside the Top 20 since March, so the 1-over 72 took him by surprise. “I came out with pretty low expectations,” he said.
Slow play, strong finish – Pinned behind the dastardly trees down the right side of the 18th fairway, Ty Tryon took forever to make up his mind as to what sort of shot he’d play. He can be forgiven, perhaps, because it’s taken him forever to get back into any sort of spotlight since turning pro a hundred years ago. (Actually, it was 2001, but it seems like longer, doesn’t it?) Anyway, he carved a beautiful fairway wood around the trees, dumped it in the front bunker, and got it up and down for a birdie to shoot 75. It earned a huge bearhug from caddie Rockey Lytle.
Windy conditions – Gary Woodland made seven bogeys, though one of them deserves an asterisk. “I marked my ball, stood over and addressed it, then it moved. Had to call a penalty on myself,” he said of the hiccup at the 13th hole. Crazy thing is, “it wasn’t even that windy,” Woodland said. “Just one of those things.”
You call this progress? – Aaron Baddeley was an amateur when given an exemption into the 2000 U.S. Open here at Pebble Beach. He opened with a 79. Now in his eighth year as a PGA Tour member, Baddeley opened this year’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach with an 80.