Rory McIlroy makes strong start to US Open challenge as Phil Mickelson shoots humiliating 78

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US Open golf 2022 live: score and latest updates from the first round at Brookline - GETTY IMAGES
US Open golf 2022 live: score and latest updates from the first round at Brookline - GETTY IMAGES

Four birdies, two tantrums, one bogey and, for the second time in as many months, a fine start to a major for Rory McIlroy.

No doubt his first-round 67 in the 122nd US Open here at The Country Club will essentially be remembered for him going “full Sergio” in a bunker, but it might actually have far greater importance in the context of his mission to end an eight-year barren run.

On three-under, McIlroy, 33, is one off Canadian Adam Hadwin and alongside England’s Callum Tarren, Swede David Lingmerth, South African Mj Daffue and American Joel Dahmen.

Another pair of Englishmen in Justin Rose and Matt Fitzpatrick - who won the US Amateur here nine years ago - are a further stroke back in a group including Dustin Johnson, the 2016 champion who is the leading player signed to the Saudi rebel circuit. Phil Mickelson shot a humiliating 78.

Of course, this is too early for McIlroy’s multitude of admirers to pop any corks in celebration of an imminent fifth major. After all, four weeks ago he opened his USPGA challenge with a 65 and proceeded to finish eighth.

Yet there can be no doubt that McIlroy is nearing peak form and that his putting is so hot his golf glove should be made of asbestos. If the hole continues to look this big to him, then he should fill the void that stretches back to the 2014 USPGA.

Worst things first, however. On the fifth (his 14th), McIlroy’s tee shot ended up in a horrid position in the gnarly rough above the bunker and all he could manage was a hack-out that flew into another bunker 10 yards ahead.

McIlroy got up and down for a Seve-like par save, but by then social media was abuzz with his antics that evoked the image of another fiery Spaniard.

After his second shot, McIlroy angrily smashed his club into the sand, not once but twice. McIlroy later explained this rather extreme reaction.

“It's hard not to get frustrated because I'm walking up there looking at my ball and going like, just come back into the bunker,” he said. “The thickest rough on the course is around the edges of the bunkers.

“So I was sort of cursing the [US Open organisers] USGA… but it's one of those things that happens here and not really anywhere else. You just have to accept it. But it was a driveable par four, you're thinking of making birdie, and all of a sudden you're scrambling for par.”

There was also the little matter of a 20-minute wait on the tee box to raise his ire. McIlroy was fuming about the tardiness of the threeball ahead, comprising the aptly-named Scott Stallings, Davis Riley and Victor Perez.

“The guys in front of us were playing so slow,” McIlroy said. “They were like a hole or a hole and a half behind the group in front of them. So yeah, that was a little frustrating, too.”

This was not the only McIlroy flare-up. From the middle of the fairway on the ninth (his final hole) he pushed his approach. The club soon came flying from his hands.

Rory McIlroy shows his frustration - GETTY IMAGES
Rory McIlroy shows his frustration - GETTY IMAGES

“My mindset was not to make a bogey and  I did that for 17 holes, which was great,” he said. “But I was sort of in two minds about what shot to hit and missed the green just where you just can't miss it. I don’t know, but it [his reaction] was almost  to remind myself how much this means to me. It's been eight years since I won a major, and I just want to get my hands on one again.”

If those incidents did not indicate the intensity of McIlroy’s intent then the words of putting coach and all-round mentor Brad Faxon just as he teed off certainly highlighted the belief in his camp.

“I told Rory I thought that was the most important win of his career," Faxon said, referencing his successful title defence at the Canadian Open on Sunday.

“He’s an emotional player, feeds off confidence. I’ve been around him for four years and yes [he does seem more ready for a major than ever]. That win was spurred by great wedge play and continued improvement in his putting. He knows how important this week is for him. I think everything’s right.”

As McIlroy strode towards the clubhouse, Tarren, the 31-year-old from Darlington, was inside the grand building still in a state of disbelief. “I'm kind of pinching myself,” he said, after his own 67, highlighted by an eagle on the eighth (his 17th) courtesy of a brilliant second with a seven-iron from 207 yards.

Callum Tarren produced a stunning round - GETTY IMAGES
Callum Tarren produced a stunning round - GETTY IMAGES

It is an understatement to say that Tarren has experienced an interesting journey to get here. As a teenager he spurned the chance of a contract with his local football team, accepted a scholarship and graduated from Radford University - an unfashionable college in Virginia - returned to Co Durham and failed to earn his European Tour before someone told him “Go east, young man”.

Tarren enrolled on PGA Tour China and after a couple of years that featured him at one stage running away from a storm on the North Korea border, he topped the order of merit, earning him the one and only place on the Korn Ferry Tour. Last year, he fulfilled his goal by qualifying for a PGA Tour card.

The world No 445 came fifth at Puerto Rico in March but his brief time so far in the big league has been most notable for the viral fame he gained when being spooked by an alligator in the Zurich Championship in late April. But the only bared teeth he has to worry about here are those of the Country Club, itself.

“This course has a little bit of a links feel, so I'm used to playing that from back home and yeah I'm pretty comfortable,” he said. “You've still got to execute golf shots and be concentrated at all times. I'm just excited about the next few days.”

US Open first round: as it happened

12:25 AM

Just a par for Hadwin on the 18th

He will go to sleep tonight knowing he has sole possession of the lead in a US Open.

Wedge shot could have been even better, but got some spin despite coming from the semi rough. Four-under 66 for the Canadian.

Rory McIlroy one behind, Justin Rose and Matt Fitzpatrick two shots further back.

12:17 AM

Hadwin's drive on the 18th got some assistance

12:08 AM

No cigar for Hadwin

He settles for a par and will walk to the 18th tee with the sole lead at four-under.

12:04 AM

Hadwin on the 17th

Took the aggressive route with driver and hits a lovely wedge to set up a decent chance of a birdie. Reaching five-under would put some pressure on the other morning starters tomorrow.

11:55 PM

Fitzpatrick does drop a shot on the last

All in all though, he would have signed for two-under 68 before he teed off some four and a half hours or so ago.

Justin Rose has joined him on the same score after his bogey at the 8th.

11:48 PM

Fitzpatrick on the 18th

He did indeed catch a break with his drop into a clean lie, and he was eyeing his iron shot up and down, but it came up shy in the front bunker. Will need to rely on his short game again.

11:48 PM

Rose making a pig's ear of the 8th

His first pitch was semi-duffed and the ball almost came back to his feet, and his second attempt did not make the journey either. Not quite as bad, but unlikely to hole that par putt.

11:43 PM

Rose on the par five 8th

A good chance to squeeze another birdie in but his long iron takes a chair on the front of the green and rolls back down the false front. Will be a 40-yard pitch from there.

11:40 PM

Birdie to finish for the World No 1

Scheffler drains a putt for a three on the 18th to finish at level par.

Back on the tee, Fitzpatrick has squirted his drive out to the right but he might be to get a drop away from the grandstand.

11:38 PM

Another solid par from Hadwin

Played the testing 15th beautifully, and a two-putt from the left edge of the green makes it a stress-free par. Hadwin retains the sole lead at four-under.

11:34 PM

Birdie for Fitzpatrick

An uphill birdie putt from underneath the hole on the 17th, and despite a couple of dropped shots on this back nine it drags him back into the pack on three-under.

Alongside the Englishman, Dustin Johnson is quietly lurking and a birdie takes him to two-under.

11:31 PM

Justin Thomas close to a closing birdie

Tremendous effort from long range on the 18th, but that will be a one-under round of 69. A very solid start in the trickier conditions this afternoon. Alongside him, Hovland finishes with a birdie to sign for a level par 70, but it's a three-over 73 for Tony Finau.

11:28 PM

Another former champion going well

Gary Woodland birdies the 7th and the man who won at Pebble Beach in 2019 moves to two-under. There are currently 24 players under par.

11:26 PM

Scheffler back to one-over

11:18 PM

This time Fitzpatrick gets up and down from sand

Saves par on the 16th which is important. Would have left a sour taste to make consecutive bogeys given how he has played. He now has the short par four 17th to come which could yield a birdie.

11:17 PM

Justin Thomas splits the fairway on the 18th

Has not been quite the back nine he will have hoped four, but still well positioned at one-under.

Rose makes another tidy par at the 6th to stay at two-under. Scheffler is two-over with two to play.

Fleetwood was backed by many this week and has just made birdie to get back to level par.

11:06 PM

Rose making more progress

Splashes out of sand to birdie the short par four 5th, his 14th hole of the day. He joins the pack of players at three-under, one behind Hadwin.

11:05 PM

It is a bogey for Fitzpatrick

Decent bunker shot but for once the putter lets him down. Not the worst bogey on one of the tougher holes on the course. Two-under with three to go.

10:57 PM

Hadwin hits the front again!

Holes an outside birdie chance from the front of the 13th green to return to four-under. That will might be the score that leads tomorrow night, let alone by the end of the day.

10:56 PM

Bunker shot coming up for Fitzpatrick

The par four 15th is a tough test with a right-to-left cross wind, and his second from rough finds the front bunker. Will need all his scrambling skills from there.

10:43 PM

Justin Rose with a lovely up and down on the fourth

That was grease lightning from beyond the green, but he judged it to perfection. The 2013 champion remains at two-under.

That is just one off the lead, after a dropped shot by Adam Hadwin on the par four 12th.

10:21 PM

Bogey for Justin Thomas

He will feel aggrieved it has come on the par 14th and he drops back to one-under. Fitzpatrick scares the hole with another putt tracking all the way, but settles for par on the 13th.

10:16 PM

Scheffler not making much progress

A par putt slips by and the shoulders slump a touch, falling back to two-over.

Meanwhile, Mickelson is now SEVEN-over for his day. Six holes to play of a miserable day.

10:11 PM

What a chip Fitzpatrick: Note the left hand low technique

10:03 PM

Bounce back for Fitzpatrick!

After a soft bogey on 11 and missing the green on the difficult 12th, he plays a chip and run from the back collar that breaks from left to right and topples in the front door! The Englishman back to three-under.

Adam Hadwin has missed the green at the par four 10th but has some green to work with.

09:58 PM

Birdie for Justin Thomas on the 13th!

He moves ominously to two-under for his day and is playing so lovely golf. That Sunday duel with McIlroy could well materialise.

09:51 PM

We have a new leader!

Adam Hadwin threaded a marvellous second shot out of the left side of the fairway on the 9th and knocked in the birdie putt. The Canadian moves to four-under.

09:45 PM

Dropped shot for Fitzpatrick

Got greedy with his wedge shot into the short 11th and it ripped back off the front left of the green. This time, the putter does not save him and he drops back to two-under. Bogeys are a part of life at the US Open.

09:35 PM

Justin Rose finding form again at two-under

09:34 PM

Excellent from Fitzpatrick

Looks full of confidence on the greens and is wrapping his putts in at pace. That is a hard hole ticked off and he walks to the short 11th still at three-under.

09:32 PM

Another player reaches three-under

Adam Hadwin birdies the par five 8th to take a slice of the lead. At the difficult 10th, Fitzpatrick found another fairway but faces a nervy par putt after his second finished some 60 feet away.

09:21 PM

Wild turkey out on the course

They are enjoying themselves now but it will be Thanksgiving before you know it:

TURKEY - SKY SPORTS
TURKEY - SKY SPORTS

09:19 PM

Says it all

09:15 PM

Fitzpatrick pops in the birdie!

He joins McIlroy and the other leaders at three-under as he walks to the 10th tee. No bogeys so far, a clean card for the man who won the 2013 US Amateur on this course.

You do not want to start attacking a US Open venue, but could he find one or two birdies coming in to take the sole lead?

09:13 PM

Mickelson's four putt earlier

09:12 PM

Bogey for Finau on the 10th

Played a lovely approach but missed the putt to escape with a miraculous par. Drops back to one-over but Thomas alongside him made par to stay at one-under.

Shane Lowry has found his first birdie of the day at the par five 8th, to move into red figures.

Fitzpatrick has hit a pearler of a mid-iron right down the banner at the 9th, and will have a putt from six feet or so to join the leaders.

08:58 PM

Birdie for Fitzpatrick!

He makes his second birdie of the day after a fine up and down from beyond the par five 8th.

Alongside him, 2012 US Open champion Webb Simpson chips in from the first cut for an eagle three. He jumps to two under with Fitzpatrick and into a tie for fifth.

08:55 PM

Contrasting fortunes on the 10th

Thomas gets a friendly bounce off a rocky outcrop to keep his tee shot in play but Tony Finau's is pulled left and dives into deep trouble. Thomas one-under at the turn and his playing partner level par.

08:40 PM

Air shot from Sam Horsfield...

From the back of the 10th green in the thick rough, he opened up his lob wedge and it slipped straight underneath the ball without making contact. He does get up and down for bogey from there. Sometimes the ball can be sat up off the floor in this rough.

08:34 PM

Mickelson floundering...

The crowd are sticking with him, but this is difficult to watch. On the 6th green, he three-putts from short range and falls back to five-over through six holes. In fact, it was a four-putt including his first from longer range.

08:26 PM

Finau razor sharp with a wedge

That pitch from short of the green had some sauce on it as the kids say, and it will be a certain birdie to take him back to level par thru eight holes. Justin Thomas not quite as close, but will have a putt to move into red figures.

08:24 PM

World No 1 Scottie Scheffler...

The Masters champion has had a quiet few weeks and is level par thru six holes of his opening round.

Good to see Mito Pereira playing well after his US PGA heartbreak:

08:18 PM

Cam Smith's putter getting him out of trouble

The Aussie is hitting it all over the golf course, but drains a 20 foot putt for bogey to avoid tumbling back to three-over.

Justin Rose is enjoying a nice start, one-under thru five having started on the 10th.

08:13 PM

Fitzpatrick with his first birdie of the day

At the short par four 5th, he drilled a three wood to just shy of the front edge and then took putter to lag up to within 18 inches. Taps it in to move one-under. Holes 5-9 are a scoreable section of the course.

07:56 PM

Justin Thomas bounces back

Drains a 25-foot putt for birdie at the par three 6th, after a delightful high fade that accessed the back right flag. The US PGA champion gets back to level par.

07:53 PM

Bryson DeChambeau with his first birdie of the day

One-under through four holes. Another player who has made a fast start is Kevin Na, one of the LIV lot, who  is three-under through five.

07:45 PM

Thomas goes from bunker to bunker on the 5th

The same hole where McIlroy had sand trouble earlier in the day. Thomas found the greenside bunker left with a three-wood off the tee, but his second came out hot and bounces into the trap behind the green.

But he stands up and rolls in the par putt to stay at one-over.

07:33 PM

Mickelson two-over early on

Not the start he wanted, but given he finished well down the field at Centurion is no great surprise.

07:32 PM

Justin Rose goes close to a hole in one

07:23 PM

Fast start from South African MJ Daffue

He is into a tie for the lead after three birdies in his first five holes.

Matt Fitzpatrick has battled gamely to save par at the third, stays at level, but Tony Finau has dropped his first shot of the day on the hole ahead due to a three putt.

Justin Thomas bit off more than he could chew by taking on the flag on the 4th and failed to get up and down from sand. One-over after four, but some scoring holes to come.

07:18 PM

The 11th at Brookline is just 122 yards

07:16 PM

A bunched leaderboard

There are 21 players under par at Brookline, and all of them are within two shots of the lead.

Not the most penal of US Opens so far. The wind is yet to kick up and the rough flanking the fairways is patchy. Some of the players are catching some good lies.

07:04 PM

Steady away for Thomas

Level par after three holes of his first round, and he finds the fairway on the par four 4th.

Mickelson has dropped a shot after an errant second shot into the first.

06:53 PM

Joel Dahmen joins the leaders

Uses the back-stop behind the hole on the par five 8th, and feeds a pitch down to within birdie range. He moves to three-under.

Fitzpatrick got up and down from sand to par the first, while it is a par-par start for Tony Finau.

06:48 PM

Phil Mickelson on the first tee...

What sort of reception will he receive? Six times a runner-up in this championship.

The galleries are overwhelmingly positive, no boos, although perhaps the cheers were not quite of the same volume. Mickelson's drive is a good one, down the left side of the fairway.

06:34 PM

Matt Fitzpatrick about to commence his first round shortly

The man from Sheffield won the US Amateur on this course nine years ago, and has the sort of neat and accurate game to excel in this particular major. Went close at the US PGA, but is yet to win in the United States as a pro.

06:31 PM

McIlroy speaking after his round

Comfort more than anything else, knowing my game is in good shape. When I needed to answer the call to make some birdies (last Sunday).

Playing 72 holes at a US Open is like playing under pressure all the time even though the tournament does not really start until the weekend.

06:26 PM

There is a fourth player in the tie for the lead

An eagle at the par five 8th has taken Aaron Wise to three-under, along with Tarren, Lingmerth and of course McIlroy. Wise was struck on the head by a stray tee shot at the US PGA Championship in May.

06:24 PM

Justin Thomas starts his round by finding the short stuff

06:09 PM

McIlroy drops first shot of the day on the final hole

Missed the green right on the 9th and left himself no room with his pitch from the thick rough. Made a decent fist of it to give himself a par putt from 15 feet but this time it slides by. Still, that is an excellent first round of three-under 67. After his fast start at the US PGA, he seems to have shaken off those first-round major blues.

05:54 PM

Will Zalatoris into red figures

After starting the day with two early bogeys, Zalatoris has played the rest of the course in three-under to move back into contention. Played the short par four 17th sensibly with an iron and a wedge, and holed a birdie putt from seven feet. He is more convincing from that range than from three or four feet.

05:46 PM

McIlroy takes the solo lead!

He laid up with his second on the par five 8th, and played a well-judged pitch to within 10 feet or so. The birdie putt was never anywhere but the centre of the cup, and he moves to four-under. Looking down on the rest.

05:43 PM

Great finish for Max Homa who is well fancied this week

05:35 PM

McIlroy on the 8th

Rory McIlroy has found the left rough on the par five 8th, but should still be able to have a cut at the green in two.

05:27 PM

Rahm with a birdie on the 18th!

He has been nowhere near his stellar best today, but that three on the last means the defending champion will sign for a one-under 69. Anything under par is a good start to a US Open.

05:22 PM

Cracking shot from Spieth form the rough on 17

The 2017 US Open winner has been over par all day, but looks like getting back to level par.

05:17 PM

McIlroy rolls in another birdie!

From long range, that was not really a chance from almost 30 feet after an average wedge shot, but a good putt makes everything look better. McIlroy moves to three-under, two holes to play, one of which is a par five.

05:09 PM

Morikawa holes a key par putt at the 17th

He played the short par four 17th cautiously, and had to hole an eight-foot par putt to stay at two-under as he walks to the 18th tee. Rahm tried to take the green on with driver and got too much draw on it, narrowly missing the bushes. Just a par, to stay at level par. Not a bad round for the Spaniard considering how ragged his ball-striking has been.

05:05 PM

Zalatoris recovering

After he was two-over after five holes. this has been a good opening round salvage operation. Birdies on the 13th and 14th have the young American back to level par with four to go.

05:01 PM

Callum Tarren now in the clubhouse with a three-under 67

04:55 PM

Rory McIlroy's par save

04:50 PM

Xander Schauffele bouncing back

The US Open specialist - though he is yet to take home the trophy - was going well on his front nine but has dropped back to two-over. Makes birdie on the 5th to reduce the deficit.

04:48 PM

What a save from McIlroy

His second shot ended up in the bunker in front of him, but he played a good splash shot across the green to give himself a chance of par from 15 feet or so. Held his nerve to escape with a four and stay at two-under. McIlroy celebrates with a fist pump - he knows that could have been the card-wrecker that has been costing him in majors.

04:44 PM

An Englishman at the top of the leaderboard

Great golf by Callum Tarren to reach three under after 17 holes of his opening round, starting on the 10th. The 31-year-old is ranked 445th in the world rankings. Tarren hails from Darlington.

Callum Tarren of England plays his shot from the eighth tee during round one  - GETTY IMAGES
Callum Tarren of England plays his shot from the eighth tee during round one - GETTY IMAGES

04:40 PM

McIlroy in bother at the fifth

This was the lie he found himself in. Wayne Riley described it beautifully: with the ball above his feet he had to address the ball like a Boston Red Sox batter. Would have been better off had his drive rolled back into the bunker.

RORY - us open
RORY - us open

Could only advance the ball five yards or so to his left, before taking a few big heaves at the sand in anger. A rare show of anger from McIlroy, if not quite at Pat Perez levels of meltdown.

04:33 PM

Loose tee shot from McIlroy on the 5th

This par four is a little more than 320 yards, but his fairway wood shot drifts right and is in some thick rough around the bunkers.

04:28 PM

Lingmerth reaches three-under

His compatriot Jesper Parnevik was one of the stars of the European team in 1999, and Lingmerth is making the most of Martin Kaymer withdrawing through injury.

Max Homa is having a great season, and he drains a long putt on the 14th to move into red figures.

04:19 PM

The top of the leaderboard features McIlroy, Niemann and Morikawa

Already the cream is rising to the top at Brookline, with Rahm not too far behind. Justin Thomas starts his round later this evening. Many have tipped a Sunday showdown between Thomas and McIlroy this week.

04:15 PM

The eagle has landed

04:11 PM

Lovely iron shot from McIlroy

Missed the fourth fairway to a pin tucked behind the front left bunker, but he and the crown love his high draw out of the trampled rough. Right over the pin, and will be 25 feet or so back down the green for birdie.

One player sailing along is amateur Stewart Hagestad at three-under.

03:57 PM

David Lingmerth going well...

The Swede is two-under in the early stages. McIlroy puts another par on the card at the 3rd, but it was another positive stroke with the putter that scared the hole.

McIlroy is now tied with Morikawa, who shoves a par putt to the right at the 13th to drop his firts shot of the day.

03:44 PM

Gordon Bennett

03:42 PM

The putter is working for Rory...

He saves par it gutsy fashion at the par three 2nd. Joaquin Niemann has joined him at two-under, a player who fare well at classical layouts having won at Rivieira. Morikawa makes par at the 12th to remain tied for the lead.

03:34 PM

Three bad iron shots in a row for Rahm

Something amiss technically with the reigning champion, that is three iron shots that have been pushed right with a weak flight. Doing well to hang on and stay under par.

Likewise for McIlroy in the tall fescue to the right of the par three 2nd, and he faces a par putt from 15 feet or so after chopping out.

03:23 PM

McIlroy scares the hole with another birdie

Finds the heart of the first green and his putt grazes the left edge from 25 feet or so. Puts another par in the bank and stays at two-under. Morikawa does likewise on the 11th, remaining at three-under.

03:10 PM

Rahm cleans up for par at the 10th

His short game bails him out after that poor second and he stays in red figures. McIlroy sends his drive at the 1st sailing down the right side of the fairway. More reasons to be cheerful for McIlroy fans.

03:05 PM

Birdie for McIlroy!

Rolls in his putt on the 18th green to reach the turn at two-under, just one behind the leaders. No bogeys and seven of nine greens in regulation found. Last week's winner looking serene at Brookline.

03:03 PM

A couple of loose iron shots from Jon Rahm

Has fanned approaches on the 9th and 10th out to the right, and faces an uphill task to get up and down to stay at one-under.

Morikawa's iron shot is right over the top of the pin, but his second releases to the back of the green. These holes at the start of the back nine are testing.

02:59 PM

McIlroy on the 18th

It's another fairway and green found, and he uses the pitch in the green and some spin to feed his second back to pin high. Will be a 20-foot birdie putt or so for birdie to turn at two-under.

02:50 PM

Morikawa reaches three-under

That's a splendid front nine of 33 by last year's Open Champion and he has the lead on his own at three-under.

Or he did for a few minutes, until NeSmith joins him with a birdie on his own.

02:49 PM

Birdie chance goes for McIlroy on the 17th

Cut the par four down to size with a booming drive over the corner of the dog leg which left him just 54 yards. Played a good one, but the birdie try from seven feet or so slips by.

02:45 PM

It's already shaping up to be a fascinating opening round

And I'll leave you in the more-than-capable hands of Telegraph Sport's very own Tiger Woods, Dan Zeqiri.

02:44 PM

Rahm moves to two-under

Thanks to a birdie at the par-five eighth...And there's now a five-way tie at the top.

Rahm -2
Morikawa -2
Lingmerth -2
Homa -2
Munoz -2

02:38 PM

Ominous for Morikawa's rivals?

02:36 PM

Spieth is battling a stomach bug

And having been three-over through four, he's back to two-over. After seven holes he's only got one par on his car.

02:34 PM

Red figures for Rory

To get through the tough stretch of 10-14 in level par is a fine way to get his tournament under way and to capitalise on that with a birdie at the par-three 16th is the icing on the cake. He nails his 20-foot putt to move to one-under.

02:25 PM

A good opening round is key

If you want to win come Sunday evening.

02:23 PM

Big putt for McIlroy on 15

A poor tee shot saw him in the rough on the right. He was only able to muscle an iron to the rough short and right of the hole and his chip gave him a 12 footer for par. The ball never left the centre of the hole and that par will feel like a birdie. It looks as though his short game is in fine fettle at the moment.

He stays at level par.

02:17 PM

Three-way tie at the top

Matthew NeSmith has joined Russell Henley and Collin Morikawa on two-under.

02:06 PM

Rory stays at level par

His drive at the par-five 14th found the left rough forcing him to lay up. On the green in three his putt for birdie is just short and he taps in for par.

01:57 PM

Rahm bouncing back

He was one-over through three but back-to-back birdies at five and six have the defending champion at one-under. A decent start for the Spaniard.

Jon Rahm - SHUTTERSTOCK
Jon Rahm - SHUTTERSTOCK

01:52 PM

Morikawa is top of the leaderboard

But not because of his iron play, as you'd expect, but his short game. He's got out of trouble a few times already with some sublime short game skills from bunkers. He's just done the same again at the sixth - shortsided and in the penal rough, the American chips to within 10 feet of the pin. He'll have that putt for par and he duly makes it to stay at two-under.

01:49 PM

Some 'names' for you

Here are how some early starters are currently doing.

Adam Scott -1

Joaquin Niemann +1
Will Zalatoris +1
Billy Horschel +1

01:45 PM

Brookline from the air

01:43 PM

Morikawa is at two-under

That's thanks a birdie at the par-four fifth. He joins fellow American Russell Henley at the top of the leaderboard.

Collin Morikawa  - AP
Collin Morikawa - AP

01:36 PM

Rory in rough off the tee at the 13th

But he's got the power to muscle it out over the water protecting the green to within 13 yards of the hole. Impressive.

01:33 PM

Missed opportunity for McIlroy

He has a short putt for birdie at the tricky 12th, thanks to a wonderful approach but misses it on the high side. He shouldn't feel too annoyed, though, as playing partner Matsuyama double bogeys - he was on the green in three and then three-putted.

01:24 PM

Woe for Spieth

The 2015 champion has followed up his bogey at the first with one at the third - not an ideal start.

01:19 PM

Here's Matsuyama's birdie

Also, please, take time to appreciate that par-threes don't have to be 250-yards long...

01:18 PM

Rahm at one-over

The defending champion missed a short putt at the par-four third. He missed a short putt for birdie at the first so it will be interesting to see how he fares on the lightning fast greens from here.

01:16 PM

Rory comes into the tournament

On the back of victory at the Canadian Open - the hallmark of the win was his iron play, especially with the wedge. If he can control those irons in the same way this week then it will take a huge performance from someone to prevent the Northern Irishman getting his hands on a second US Open trophy.

01:13 PM

Brookline

The famous venue for the boisterous 1999 Ryder Cup, is a quirky course with lots of undulations, penal rough, small greens and more like  European course than American one.

It's also, as you'd expect from a US country club, pretty exclusive.

Brookline Country Club - AP
Brookline Country Club - AP

01:07 PM

Par for Rory at the 11th (his second)

Pars are definitely your friend at the US Open, but birdies, as with everywhere, are better and McIlroy's playing partner Hideki Matsuyama rolls in a putt to go to one-under.

01:04 PM

Putting perfection

Here's how Morikawa got into red figures.

01:02 PM

The par-three 11th is Rory's next hole

And it looks a beaut. It's a rarity in modern golf, where all the par threes are monster distances that would have us hackers reaching for the driver, but this is a delightful short hole measuring only 122 yards. But as you'd expect at a US Open, and with such a short hole, there is danger all over. There are three bunkers front and left, and run off areas into penal rough on the other sides. In short, you have to hit the green to avoid the chance of registering a four or five.

Rory, you'll be glad to hear (I assume), finds the green.

12:57 PM

Par for Rory at the 10th

He had a nervy five-footer for part on his first hole but he holed it well - a good confident opening.

12:54 PM

Not the best start for Jordan Spieth

The American bogeyed the par-four first - his drive found the right rough, his approach went (just long) and he was unable to get up and down.

12:51 PM

Morikawa makes a (very) early move

The American has birdied the par-three second - it's one of the tougher holes at Brookline - and is co-leader on one-under.

12:45 PM

Sky is currently showing a chat about LIV Golf

And its affect on the game. It involves our very own James Corrigan and is well worth watching.

12:43 PM

The defending champion is off and running

And Jon Rahm has begun his title defence with a par. Playing alongside the Spaniard is Collin Morikawa and he too has opened up with a par at the first.

12:36 PM

Some tee times to look out for

Starting at hole one:

12:18 Collin Morikawa (US), James Piot (US), Jon Rahm (Spa)

12:29 Jordan Spieth (US), Adam Scott (Aus), Max Homa (US)

1:02 Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Cameron Young (US), Will Zalatoris (US)

6:14 Justin Thomas (US), Viktor Hovland (Nor), Tony Finau (US)

6:36 Matt Fitzpatrick (Eng), Webb Simpson (US), Dustin Johnson (US)

6:47 Phil Mickelson (US), Shane Lowry (Ire), Louis Oosthuizen (SA)

Starting on hole 10

12:40 Rory McIlroy (NI), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Xander Schauffele (US)

6:03 Kevin Na (US), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Tyrrell Hatton (Eng)

6:25 Brooks Koepka (US), Cameron Smith (Aus), Scottie Scheffler (US)

6:47 Gary Woodland (US), Justin Rose (Eng), Bryson DeChambeau (US)

6:58 KH Lee (Kor), Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Patrick Reed (US)

12:32 PM

The action is under way

And the early leader is Fran Quinn who is one-under through three holes. The American is the only man under par at Brookline.

10:54 AM

The US Open's unwelcome guests

With all majors comes a bit of intrigue, but it's fair to say this one is drowning in it.

Taking place just a week after the first event of the controversial Saudi breakaway golf tour, and with several of the rebel golfers teeing it up at Brookline it's fair to say all eyes will be on those who, for a few more dollars, have abandoned the PGA Tour.

Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Louis Oosthuizen are just four of the 15 rebels back on US soil. They are allowed to play the US Open, having been banned from the tour, because its a USGA event, and their presence has only added to the unease felt by many across the game about LIV Golf.

It has dominated the run up to the third major of the year and the hope of USGA executive director Mike Whan is that once the first tee shot is struck action inside the ropes will begin to dominate.

“We’re praying [focus on LIV Golf] changes and when this championship tees off we’ll have something else to talk about,” he said. “At least for the next four days.”

Phil Mickelson is playing on US soil for the first time since January - GETTY IMAGES
Phil Mickelson is playing on US soil for the first time since January - GETTY IMAGES

After accusations have been flying across the Atlantic for the past 10 or so days, snide comments here and there, announcements of more big names jumping ship and toe-curing press conferences the chances of the Saudi rebel series not dominating the narrative at Brookline seem very slim.

To save them from the rowdy Boston fans many of the rebels have been drawn in the late groups today, meaning no late finish tomorrow, when, with the weekend on the horizon, the chances are the home fans will be a few drinks down and possibly on their way to being vocal and the worse for wear.

Mickelson and Co would do well to try and enjoy their rounds as Whan suggested this could be their last US Open. When asked if he could see a situation going forward where the rebels will find it harder and harder to get into the this major,  Whan responded with a short, and to the point, 'yes'.

Let's hope the focus can be on the golf, if only for the next few days. Stay here for all the action from what is sure to be a fascinating four rounds.

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