US Open 2022 scores, takeaways: Justin Thomas in a familiar position in pursuit of his second straight major

US Open 2022 scores, takeaways: Justin Thomas in a familiar position in pursuit of his second straight major

BROOKLINE, Mass. — Justin Thomas opened the 2022 US Open almost exactly the same way started the 2022 PGA Championship, which he won a month ago at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In that event, Thomas played the toughest wave in the first round and shot 67, two behind Rory McIlroy. In this event, Thomas played the hardest wave in the first round and shot 69, two back from McIlroy.

The difference? is there someone ahead from McIlroy this time, leader Adam Hadwin, who shot the only 66 in the field Thursday. However, JT is in the perfect spot to make a run at the No. 3 major just as he was a month ago to make a run at the No. 2 major.

Thomas was amazing as ever with an iron in hand and finished sixth in the approach game. His putter also remained active and is trending toward a positive week of strokes won for the sixth time in his last seven tournaments.

JT didn’t let the tournament slip away either by keeping the heavyweights in his sights. Although Hadwin is three shots ahead, JT will be more concerned with those he is tied with (Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa) and those ahead of him (Dustin Johnson at 2-under, McIlroy at 3-under).

A constant JT is a scary proposition. At the PGA in May, he was the horse that stayed in the field all the way before closing out as the thoroughbred he has proven to be. You can’t always win that way, but he’s been so good lately that it’s hard to see him fading in the next few days.

At the PGA Championship, he talked about putting together four consecutive 67s to win the tournament. Four 69s in a row can get you close enough here. On Sunday, we could be talking about Thomas being the first golfer in the last seven years (Jordan Spieth in 2015) to win back-to-back major championships.

Here are eight other thoughts on the US Open first round at The Country Club.

2. More major champions hanging around: Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa played early in the day, shooting 1 under par. There were two reasons why this was impressive. first, rahm almost had to hit three off the 17th tee Y some children took the ball from him on the 18th. Second, Morikawa has said all week that he can’t fade right now, which for the last three years has been the most reliable shot in all of golf.

“I pretty much only played a draw,” Morikawa said. “That was kind of the game plan… I didn’t really have to make too many cuts. When I did, I didn’t really make them. For the most part, I was just committed to the shot and knowing what my shot form was. today, and it’s been pretty straight. It’s been like that little 2-yard draw.

“I played a lot of golf last week and a lot of holes to try and be able to trust him. I haven’t played a tie since maybe freshman year of college. Definitely high school. It’s different. It’s not the same confidence, but this week I have to trust. That’s the only way I’m going to hit shots.”

3. The Callum Tarren weirdness: An extremely strange part of Thursday is that Tarren, T2 after 18 holes, was over par on 12 of his first 15 holes and only under par on the last three of the day when he closed birdie-eagle-par. You don’t see many golfers near the first-round leader who weren’t in the red standing on the third-to-last tee of the day.

4. Good morning, Dahmen: Joel Dahmen, who shot 67 on Thursday and also sits in T2, not only had the best date of the day on Thursday but also the top two. First, the serious one: “I’m very competitive, I believe in myself and I hate losing. But also for me it’s the most fun when you play with the best players. I’ve come to play with [Jordan] Spieth in the final round close to the lead twice this year, and at the time, I love that stuff. I love being in that situation. I love being nervous. I love that my hands shake. That’s why we play the game.”

That’s a great thing from someone for whom a win this week would be life changing. And his quote about how he was going to spend his Thursday night sitting in the lead was even better: “I’m going to call him my new best friend, Ben Rector; he’s a musician. I met him at Pebble.” [Beach] this year, and he’s in town tonight. Let’s go to his concert. It’s going to be hard to go to that one and not have 100 beers like we usually do at concerts.”

5. Fitz’s magic: Matthew Fitzpatrick, who won the 2013 US Amateur at this course, provided perhaps the most electric round in the afternoon wave when he shot a two-under 68. Fitzpatrick has apparently made a leap in majors to the point where he can compete consistently, which wasn’t necessarily true in the early part of his career. Fitzpatrick is having the best statistical season of his life, and while a win at Brookline would be almost also on the nose, it would also make an excellent story.

6. Hello Mr. DJ: The narrative of LIV Golf vs. PGA Tour is here to stay. One of the faces of the former, Dustin Johnson, is in contention for his third big win after shooting 68 in Round 1. A matchup between DJ and Rory or JT, both firmly entrenched on the PGA Tour side, is almost too much. delicious to consider this earlier in the week. It would be the first of what could be many future matchups between players from the two leagues. The other subplot here is that DJ hasn’t spoken publicly at an event other than LIV, but if he leads or is near the top on Friday and beyond, he’ll be getting a lot of questions about how much the landscape of his sport has changed. .

7. Beautiful Brookline: Thursday’s consensus was that The Country Club, which has the ambiguous “just feels like a great” in bunches, was wonderfully set up for Day 1. Thursday’s greens were slower than I thought they would be, but even at Despite that and the fact that the wind died down early, the day’s scoring average was still 2.6 strokes over par.

“It’s very difficult,” Rahm said. “Honestly, the first five holes when we had no wind, I was thinking we’d blow the roof off this place. Somebody’s going to shoot 6s, 7s under if the wind doesn’t pick up, right? Obviously, a well-designed golf course is always difficult. When the crosswinds started to come, it was difficult.”

8. Hard day for Lefty: Phil Mickelson shot 78 in Round 1 and beat just two of the 15 fans on the field Thursday, which was emblematic of LIV players in general. The 15 golfers who are playing in the rival league on the PGA Tour shot 53 over with only DJ and American amateur champion James Piot under par.

9. Max Homa Ball Strike: The best iron player on the course Thursday was Homa, who won over four shots on approach shots while only hitting 69 under par. Homa has been adamant about how much he has learned about not having to be perfect in the major championships, and it is clear from his play in recent years that it is leading to a better game on the golf course. He will be a shrewd one to watch over the last three days if he continues to play like he did through the first 18 holes.

Rick Gehman, Kyle Porter and Greg DuCharme round up Thursday’s action at The Country Club. Follow and listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts Y Spotify.

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