Wyndham Clark and Rory McIlroy Lead the Way at the US Open in LA

In an attempt to combat the historically low scores, the U.S. Open implemented a North course at Los Angeles Country Club that was stretched to its full length. However, golfers Wyndham Clark and Rory McIlroy were able to navigate the course with ease on Friday. Meanwhile, Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele had to face the biggest obstacle of the day, which was the sunshine and a fresh breeze in the afternoon. Clark started strong with a bold flop shot and a monster birdie putt, finishing with a 3-under 67, while McIlroy overcame a rocky start with four birdies on his last five holes for a 67. Despite making a quadruple-bogey 8 on his second hole, Dustin Johnson rebounded quickly and still shot a 70, leaving him in contention going into the weekend. According to Clark, the course played long due to several tees being put back and back pins being used.

Despite the challenging course, Clark's performance on Friday was impressive, especially on the par-5 14th and the 16th hole where he made a difficult birdie putt. His score of 9-under 131 puts him just one shot behind the U.S. Open record set by Martin Kaymer in 2014. With two more days of play left, it will be interesting to see if Clark can maintain his momentum and potentially break the record.

As Clark finished his impressive round, he couldn't help but notice the changing conditions on the course. The sun was starting to break through the marine layer, which could make the course faster and less forgiving of mistakes. This is what Fowler and Schauffele faced in the afternoon, setting the U.S. Open record with 62s on the lowest opening round of scoring in U.S. Open history. McIlroy, on the other hand, didn't expect such low scoring and attributed it to cloud cover and receptive greens. However, he acknowledged that the course has the potential to get firmer and faster over the next few days, making it just as much of a mental grind as a physical one. Despite his own mistakes on the back nine, McIlroy had a strong front nine for the second straight day, ending his round with a tee shot on the par-3 ninth to 3 feet. Harris English also had a strong front nine, finishing with a 66 and leaving him at 7-under 133. With two more days of play left, it will be interesting to see how the changing conditions affect the players' performances.

“They can get them as firm and fast as they want and put those pins in some tough spots. It’s going to be fun,” English said. “The rough is still going to be penal. I think everybody is going to get the U.S. Open they’ve been wanting to see.”

Johnson saw plenty of it without sunshine or wind. He pulled his tee shot on the second hole into a bunker, only advanced that 95 yards into thick rough, hit the next one into the barranca, took a penalty drop, went over the green and walked off with the craziest of 8s.

The best shot of his round?

“Probably the tee shot on 3 — hitting a good shot and just getting settled back down after making an 8,” he said. “Definitely wasn’t too thrilled with myself walking off that green.”

He was at 6-under 134 with Min Woo Lee, whose 65 has been the low score of the day.

PGA champion Brooks Koepka had a 69 that at least got him to the weekend, right in the middle of the pack on a course that he would not rate among this favorite because of the blind shots off the tee.

“I’m not a huge fan of this place,” he said.

طلحة عبد الكريم
By : طلحة عبد الكريم
مدير و محرر مدونة الموقع التقني.