Scottie Scheffler Thursday at the U.S. Open (USA Today)
by Art Sticklin, for AmateurGolf.com
ERIN, Wisconsin – While former Texas-raised US Open champion Jordan Spieth struggled during Thursday’s first round of the 2017 U.S. Open, Lone Star Amateur Scottie Scheffler
, who considers Spieth a role model, starred by firing a three-under-par 69. Scheffler, playign his second-straight Open, is four shots behind leader Rickie Fowler after the first 18 holes.
Scheffler, 22, who had his sister Callie as his caddy, used back-to-back birdies on holes 8-9 along with two additional birdies on 12-13, plus a four-foot birdie putt on 18, validating the promise he has shown during his stellar amateur career at the University of Texas.
“I played pretty good today,” said a smiling Scheffler. “I've still got a few things to work on, but there is no reason not to feel confident. I made some putts today.”
University of Oklahoma amateur Brad Dalke
struggled with six bogeys and only a single birdie on the pa- 4 10th hole to finish his first round with a 78.
No amateur who finished in the morning wave of players broke par of 72 in tough conditions. Chile’s Joaquin Niemann
had the best early score of two-over 74, England’s Scott Gregory shot a 75 as did Pennsylvania amateur Chris Crawford. Texas’ Walker Lee came home with an opening 81.
Related: High school senior Walker Lee realizes his U.S. Open dream
But Crawford, who advanced through both local and sectional qualifying, chose to look at the bright side of his time at Erin Hills.
“I don’t know how many people qualified through both local and sectional qualifying, but that is something certainly to be proud of,” Crawford said. “I hadn’t had a chance to play much this year, because of school and having already used up my college eligibility. I’m look forward to a full summer of amateur golf, capped by the U.S. Amateur in August."
He pulled his opening drive into the water off the first tee for a double bogey, but recovered with birdies on holes Nos. 7 and 10.
“I still have a lot of faith in my game and what I can do out here. I just need chances to play. I’m looking forward to Friday. Golf is always a new day.”
Mid-Amateur Scott Harvey, 39, had spent what he felt was enough time practicing on the greens and the grounds of the U.S. Open site at Erin Hills. But when he teed it up on a windy Thursday morning at Erin Hills, he was in for a surprise -- fast greens and substandard play led the Coleman Cup champion and 2015 USA Walker Cup team member to an opening 78.
RELATED: Read more and watch a video interview with Stewart Hagestad and Scott Harvey
“I thought I hit it good today, but I was really timid on the greens. They were a lot faster than they had been on the practice round. It was definitely a shock to the system.”
The Greensboro, North Carolina amateur had 32 putts in his morning round which tied him for 106th in the field.
The first round results were equally shocking for other top amateurs such as Stewart Hagestad, the low amateur in the Masters in April, who fired a 77 in round one.
“It a long tough day on a tough course,” he said. “That’s what a US Open does. I didn’t play that good and when you do that you get a bad number. That’s what happened today.”
Hagestad started out with a 15-foot birdie putt on the second hole, but that turned out to be his only birdie of the day.
ABOUT THE U.S. Open
The U.S. Open is the biggest of the 14 national
championships conducted by the USGA.
to amateurs and professionals.
The USGA intends to make the U.S. Open
most rigorous, yet fair, examination of golf
skills, testing all forms of shot-making. The
USGA prepares the course after careful
consideration of 14 different factors.
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