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US Open Golf 2024 Round 1: Who Stood Out?

Posted by Admin 14 Jun 2024

Written by: Divyanshu Sahu



As the sun rose over Pinehurst No 2, marking the beginning of the US Open Golf 2024, enthusiasts and players alike felt the palpable excitement in the air. This prestigious event, renowned for its challenging greens and fairways, draws in golf's elite competitors, including names like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Brooks Koepka, alongside rising stars such as Akshay Bhatia and Sahith Theegala. The U.S. Open, with its storied history and reputation for being a true test of skill, promises thrilling rounds and unforgettable moments. Round 1 did not disappoint, showcasing spectacular birdies, daunting bogeys, and leaderboard shake-ups that have already begun to shape the narrative of this year's tournament.



Flag fluring strong at Pinehurst No 2 , US Open 2024



Top Performers of Round 1



Rory finishing the round bogey-free with a score of 5-under 65



Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay emerged as the standout performers in the first round of the US Open Golf 2024. McIlroy, chasing his first U.S. Open victory since 2011, demonstrated exceptional control and discipline, finishing the round bogey-free with a score of 5-under 65. His performance was highlighted by a crucial birdie on the 18th hole, securing his position at the top of the leaderboard alongside Cantlay.
Patrick Cantlay also impressed with a stellar 5-under-par performance. Known for his precision, Cantlay's round was a display of strategic mastery and composure. He capitalized on the opportunities, particularly shining in the last five holes of the back nine where he scored multiple birdies. His ability to maintain consistency and make crucial putts under pressure was evident, setting him up as a strong contender as the tournament progresses. Both players showcased their readiness and skill, making the first round one to remember.



Patrick Cantlay plays his shot from the first fairway during the first round 



Unexpected Surprises



Ludvig Aberg reacts on the eleventh hole during the first round of the U.S. Open



Ludvig Åberg, a newcomer to the U.S. Open, delivered an impressive performance, shooting a first-round 66, just one shot behind the leader. His disciplined approach, evident from his college days at Texas Tech, paid off as he showcased his skills with a driver, hitting every fairway and averaging 321 yards off the tee. Åberg's physical prowess, particularly in driving, ranks him third in Total Driving this season, highlighting both distance and accuracy.


Matthieu Pavon, on the other hand, turned heads with his remarkable recovery from recent setbacks. After missing two consecutive cuts, Pavon bounced back spectacularly, scoring two eagles in a single round—a rare feat at Pinehurst No. 2. His performance was bolstered by a renewed focus on putting, adjusted just weeks before the tournament. Pavon's strategic play and exceptional swings on the par 5s underscored his potential and resilience, positioning him as a significant contender in the tournament.



Struggles and Challenges Faced



Tiger Woods walks off from the second tee box during the first round


Scottie Scheffler, the 2024 Masters champion and World No. 1, encountered significant hurdles during the first round. Despite his high ranking, Scheffler finished at 1 over par, marked by a challenging day where his performance was not up to his usual standards. Notably, his tee shot at the par-4 16th veered far left, leading to a bogey after settling into the pine straw. Furthermore, his approach on the third hole bounced off the contoured green into a bunker, reflecting the difficulties presented by Pinehurst's demanding course layout.


Tiger Woods also faced a tough start, ending the round with a 4-over 74. His struggles were pronounced on the greens, where a series of three-putts contributed to a stretch of five bogeys over seven holes. Despite hitting 12 of 14 fairways, Woods' iron play and putting did not meet the mark, emphasizing the challenges of adjusting to the fast, convex greens of Pinehurst No. 2.



Scottie Scheffler plays his shot from the seventh tee box during the first round 



Course Highlights and Tough Spots



Pinehurst No. 2, a true test of precision and strategy, challenges even the most skilled golfers with its unique layout and demanding greens. Known for its "turtle back" greens, the course is notorious for punishing any shots that are less than perfect. These greens, often described as upside-down bowls, can cause the ball to roll off the sides, making accuracy on approach shots critical. The roughs add another layer of difficulty, with their randomness and density often causing frustration among players.


Pinehurst No. 2 Greens


The greens at Pinehurst No. 2 are particularly unforgiving. Many players struggle with the severe contours and slopes that can send a well-aimed golf ball off the green, turning potential birdies into bogeys or worse. This characteristic was highlighted during the tournament as several golfers found themselves battling to keep the ball on the green, emphasizing the need for strategic play and precise execution.



Notable Hole Performances



One of the most talked-about holes is the ninth, known for its susceptibility to hole-in-ones due to its short distance and the layout that can help funnel the ball towards the hole. This hole has seen remarkable performances in previous U.S. Opens, including memorable aces by Peter Jacobsen and Zach Johnson. Additionally, the second hole, a 500-yard par 4, requires a strategic tee shot to the left to secure a favorable angle for the second shot, illustrating the intricate challenges Pinehurst imposes on the golfers.



Predictions for the Next Rounds



Potential Contenders



As the US Open Golf 2024 progresses, key players are poised to make significant impacts. Scottie Scheffler, maintaining a dominant season, is a top favorite, given his consistent high finishes and strong statistical backing, particularly in Greens in Regulation and Scrambling. Xander Schauffele, fresh off a major win, although predicted to stumble, still has a strong chance to remain in the top five due to his excellent Scrambling and Putting stats. On the other hand, Brooks Koepka, despite being a longshot, is expected to make a strong run, leveraging his experience and recent good form in other tournaments.



Areas to Watch



Wyndham Clark, aiming for a strong start at Pinehurst greens


The challenging conditions at Pinehurst No. 2 will likely dictate who advances and who falters. Players like Viktor Hovland and Tiger Woods, who struggled in the first round, need to improve significantly to make the cut, focusing on reducing bogeys and navigating the tougher back nine more effectively. The course setup for the morning sessions, which have historically yielded lower scores, will be critical for players like Wyndham Clark, aiming for a strong start to secure a spot for the weekend.






As the initial round of the US Open Golf 2024 at Pinehurst No. 2 unfolded, it offered a vivid illustration of the tournament's allure and the sheer test of skill it represents. The standout performances of Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay, alongside surprising upturns from Ludvig Åberg and Matthieu Pavon, underscore the unpredictable and thrilling nature of the championship. The challenges faced by top contenders like Scottie Scheffler and Tiger Woods further emphasize the demanding conditions of the course, setting a compelling backdrop for the rounds ahead. These narratives not only enrich the tournament's story but also heighten anticipation for what is to come.



As Pinehurst continues to test the mettle of the world's best, keeping up with live updates and scoring will be crucial for fans and enthusiasts alike. For the latest updates and live scoring, make sure to follow, which caters to your every golf need. This platform assures you won't miss any pivotal moments or shifts on the leaderboard, enriching your experience of the tournament. 



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  PGA Championship Showdown: Xander Tops, Bryson and Victor Follow Closely




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