Rory McIlroy continued a torrid stretch of golf by shooting a 3-under-par 67 Thursday morning to hold a share of the early lead at the U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
McIlroy was tied for the lead with Englishman Callum Tarren, David Lingmerth of Sweden and Joel Dahmen with about half the field in the clubhouse.
Hayden Buckley, Matthew NeSmith, Brian Harman and Aaron Wise turned in rounds of 2-under 68 to trail the leaders by one.
The four-time major champion from Northern Ireland entered the championship as the odds-on favorite after he won the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday. McIlroy stayed hot, starting his day on the back nine with two birdies before holing back-to-back birdies at the seventh and eighth holes to reach 4 under.
But a tough shot from off the ninth green left him a long par putt he couldn’t convert, and his only bogey of the round knocked him out of the outright lead.
“I wanted to try to shoot a round of golf on a really tough course without making a bogey,” McIlroy said on the NBC broadcast. “I achieved that for 17 holes and then didn’t quite save par there at the last. But overall a really good day. Had some really good par savers. Hit the ball pretty well and it’s a great start to the tournament.”
Dahmen, 34, started on the back nine and heated up late, birdieing three of his final five holes to join McIlroy and the co-leaders. Dahmen made birdie at three of the four par 3s.
Tarren was even through 15 holes before going birdie-eagle at the par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth to shoot up the leaderboard. Tarren’s second shot at No. 8 nestled inside 5 feet for an easy eagle. Ranked No. 445 in the world, the 32-year-old has never won on the PGA Tour or DP World Tour.
Lingmerth is a PGA Tour veteran who won his only career title in 2015. He entered the week ranked even lower than Tarren — No. 592 in the world. He was the only co-leader to stay bogey free, with birdies at the par-3 16th, par-4 18th and par-4 fifth.
Defending champion Jon Rahm of Spain, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris, Max Homa and Australia’s Adam Scott were part of a large group tied at 1-under 69.
Rahm made a wild birdie at No. 18 to finish his round. After his drive missed badly left, he was granted a free drop after someone ran off with his ball. He found the edge of the green and drained a 21-footer for birdie.
Xander Schauffele and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama shot even-par 70. Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay opened with rounds of 2-over 72.
Notable players who had just begun their rounds in the afternoon wave included Phil Mickelson, Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Australia’s Cameron Smith and Ireland’s Shane Lowry.
–Field Level Media