US Open 2018:Shinnecock Hills Leaves A Gutted Field Of Carnage

Coverage Presented by the TriState PGA.

After several years of benign golf courses that could not put up a fight against the Games Best Players, the USGA went to the well and pulled out one of their nastiest Sticks.  Shinnecock Hills, one of the USGA’s founding Member Clubs, stood tall today and created havoc for most of the players in the field. Shinnecock had help though,  Mother Nature dialed up some perplexing winds and All of the variables combined would lead to only 4 players to break par all tied at 1-under.

Okay, so maybe I went a little overboard.  Well, if you ask Jordan Speith, Rory McIllroy, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods my description was  dead on. Of that group, Phil leads the way at 7+over, followed by Speith and Tiger at 8+over and Rory would through up a 10+over par round.

The leaders after day one included Ian Poulter, Scott Piercy, Russel Henley and Dustin Johnson at 1-under.  Lurking behind that group is Jason Dufner at even, then Justin Rose, Charles Howell, Henrik Stenson and Charlie Hoffman are all sitting at 1+over.

Dustin Johnson played really well for about 14 holes and then started to make a few mistakes.  Those mistakes allowed him to fall from 3-under to 1-under.  Ian Poulter did the same this morning.  When asked about his round after he was finished, Ian said the cross winds were difficult.

Jordan Speith finished the round at 8+over but would hit 11 of 14 greens.  The most anyone hit was 13.  To tell you just how bad Jordan putted the ball today, he would 4 putt a green for the first time since the 5th grade picnic.

Brooks Koepka, the defending Champion is sitting at 5+over but said after the round that a 1-under score tomorrow makes puts you right there.

Phil Mickelson hit nearly every fairway in regulation but would finish at 7+over.  We would even see him make an unforced error with the wedge by catching too much ball and skip a ball across the green which led to a double bogey.

Then there were players like Tiger who had to send out a search committee to find his ball in the tall grass on a few holes.

There was a remark made this week by Tiger Woods, he stated that the course tests every portion of your game.   Today was a perfect example of that.

None of the players were complaining after the round about the conditions or the course itself.

Patrick Reed was asked about the fairness of the course after his round and he said that “none of the greens were set up unfairly.”

Shinnecock did give up some crazy hole outs and chip ins throughout the day.

 

Erin Hills last year had 212 total double bogeys, there were 199 in the first round this season at Shinnecock.

Other players that are close… include Xander Schauffele at 2+over.  Patrick Reed along with Zack Johnson, Ricki Fowler, Paul Casey, and Brandt Snedeker are all sitting at 3+over.

Steve Stricker is also hanging around after a solid opening round. Stricker is looking to make the cut for the 27th consecutive time in a major championship.  Last missed cut in a major came at the 2009 PGA Championship.

Early in the afternoon it looked as if those that were playing in the second wave would end up scoring a little better.   But as the day went on, the greens dried out and became even more treacherous than they were early.

The wind conditions should improve over the next few days and because of that the scores could get better. Although, the USGA can combat that by not over watering the greens.

We shall soon see but by all accounts the USGA and Shinnecock  were a stern test for the best in the world.

 

Author: Jhavelka