The American Russell Henley and the South African Louis Oosthuizen, who could not finish his first round because of the darkness, temporarily occupy the head of the US Open, where Phil Mickelson, in search of the only Major missing from his record, stalled entry Thursday.
The latter, who last month became the oldest winner of a Major at the USPGA, is not the only one to have given up on the course of Torrey Pines (California), swept by the Pacific wind, since defending champion Bryson DeChambeau also finished over par.
A morning fog had delayed the kickoff of the 3rd Grand Slam of the golf season by 90 minutes.
This prevented 36 players from finishing their turn.
Oosthuizen, who started among the last, remained blocked at hole 16 with a total of -4.
The South African, winner of the British Open in 2010, was having a good day with five successful birdies and just one committed bogey.
“I played well, I putt well and I hope to keep my momentum going,”
said Oosthuizen, who will finish his turn early Friday morning.
His co-leader Henley (63rd player in the world), who has not won a PGA title since the Houston Open in 2017 and who has never managed to rank in the top 10 of a Grand Slam tournament, has him made six birdies and conceded two bogeys.
Koepka in ambush
“Since last year I have played the best golf I have played consistently in my career.
I feel like I have a more complete game, ”said Henley, conceding having to“ play better in big tournaments ”.
With a better shot, this duo is ahead of another composed of the Italian Francesco Molinari, winner of the British Open 2018, and the Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello.
In ambush, at two lengths, is Brooks Koepka, one of the favorites of the US Open which he won in 2017 and 2018. The 10th in the world, who underwent right knee surgery three months ago and finished 2nd in the PGA Championship last month, managed his 3rd and 4th birdies at the 17th and 18th, to forget two bogeys conceded in the first part of the course.
Moment at which
"the wind rose."
Which made things quite difficult, ”
explained the one who shares fifth place with five competitors, among them the Japanese Hideki Matsuyama, who triumphed at the Masters in April, and the Spaniard world No.3 Jon Rahm, competitive after having contracted Covid-19 ten days ago.
Among the other favorites, Rory McIlroy is not far in the provisional 11th place (-1), as the world number one Dustin Johnson (23rd, 0).
Mickelson castigates phones
On the other hand, as regards Bryson DeChambeau, the urgency point already, since he is in a larger group in 61st place (+2).
The day after his 51st birthday, Phil Mickelson also missed his debut by returning a card of 75, weighed down by five bogeys for a single successful birdie.
And here he is 96th with eight head shots, just like Collin Morikawa (world No.4).
“I fought the whole way, when I couldn't really get things done,”
he commented, further lamenting that he was embarrassed by spectators taking photos or filming with their cell phones.
"I do not understand why we can not put this little button on the side in silent mode
," he railed.
Even though he got off to a bad start in this tournament, where he has finished six times second in the past, Mickelson still hopes to break the curse and become the sixth golfer to win all four Grand Slam tournaments after Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus. , Gary Player and Gene Sarazen.
“I don't think my expectations have changed.
I feel like I have the ability to play well enough to be in the race, ”
On the French side, Victor Perez (75) is also in 96th position.
His ten pars on the first ten holes were followed by a double at 11 then two bogeys without the slightest birdie.
As for Paul Barjon (61st), he finished with a 73 (+2) and can still hope to pass the cut on Friday.
With two birdies against four bogeys, his card inspired him a mixed comment, a smile on his face: “I did not do badly,” said the one who is playing his second US Open.
The complete ranking with Figaro Golf.