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Dustin Johnson among weathered survivors at top of U.S. Open leader board

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The plaguing wind left them digging sand out in their eyes and seeking to hang directly to their caps, and vanity. It grabbed at their shirts and their pantlegs, adore it used to be seeking to rip the garments off their backs. It ballooned their rankings and stripped away their self-importance. There have been no actual leaders after the primary spherical of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, only a small handful of weather-beaten survivors, a bunch of 4 avid gamers who slightly controlled to wreck par, all tied at 1-under with their 69s.

The secure blow around the sandhills of this crooked previous par-70 made the flags fly completely horizontal, and tents snap at their cables, and the lengthy grasses wave in sheets. It rocked flagsticks and messed with their judgement, their golfing swings and their dignity.There used to be Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 participant on the earth, looking on his arms and knees for his ball within the deep fescue of the 6th hollow, lucky to get a loose drop when a TV announcer unwittingly stepped on it, a ruin that helped him to his 69. There used to be Tiger Woods, four-putting for a double bogey on the par-Four 13th, on his solution to a 78 that incorporated a triple and two double bogeys.

“Anything else beneath par in this golfing route is superb, particularly within the stipulations we now have as of late,” Johnson stated. “I felt like, you understand, from begin to end, it used to be very tough. You had to concentrate on each and every unmarried shot you hit.”

Every now and then, they despatched quick wedge photographs hovering over the carefully mown vegetables. Every now and then, the tilted vegetables spilled photographs again into their laps. The route performed to a median ranking of simply over 76, and the again 9 to an ego-destroying 39. Via the tip of the day there could be 836 bogeys.

“Come on Jordan, select your head up! Pick out your head up!” a spectator yelled at Jordan Spieth, because the 24-year-old went trudging through on his solution to a 78. Any other spectator stared on the rankings of Spieth’s enjoying companions — Phil Mickelson, who shot 77, and Rory McIlroy, an 80 — and stated, “Unhealthy, unhealthy, and worse.”

Those who fared the most productive have been those that reduced their expectancies, conceded their dignity, and located a solution to restrict the wear. Ian Poulter braced himself to simply accept a depressing spherical in a event he has made no secret of hating previously — he as soon as vowed by no means to play an Open once more, regardless of his 8 best 10 finishes in majors.

“I haven’t loved very many, to be fair,” stated Poulter, a Brit. “They’re tough. They’re sizzling. They’re nerve-racking. Feels such as you’re pulling tooth each and every unmarried hollow you play.”

However Poulter one way or the other discovered his solution to a 69 that used to be his best possible get started ever in an Open. “If I hit it within the tough, I hit it within the tough,” he stated. “I’m going to check out and make par the arduous manner and simply knock it — simply don’t get too slowed down with it.”

Scott Piercy used to be in a similar fashion informal. On Wednesday, he had stalked off the route in frustration at the fourth hollow of his apply spherical. He went again to his room and ordered a pizza and checked out some previous footage of himself, when he used to be swinging neatly. The outcome: a 69 that tied him for the lead with Johnson, Poulter, and Russell Henley, a narrow Georgian with 3 PGA Excursion wins to his credit score.

“I form of began from the ground, in my thoughts,” Piercy stated. “Went house, pounded some pizza, and simply had some amusing putting round the home. I simply wanted a while away. . . . Golfing’s arduous sufficient as it’s, after which we’re on the U.S. Open.”

The veteran winners of main championships have been savvy sufficient to understand that an over-par spherical wasn’t essentially a nasty get started in an Open, no longer on this northwesterly wind, which gusted from 15 to 30 mph with out a letup, and no longer in this route. Raymond Floyd shot 75 right here in 1986 on the right way to his victory. Protecting champion Brooks Koepka may console himself with the idea that he used to be in excellent historic corporate after his personal 75. “You realize, it’s a U.S. Open,” Koepka stated. “You’ll shoot, no matter, five over as of late and shoot 1 beneath the next day to come and be simply positive going into the weekend. So I’m no longer too involved.”

Justin Rose, the 2013 champion, knew he used to be in for a tricky day when he arrived on the route and noticed the flags lining the clubhouse flying “useless instantly.” He used to be pleasantly shocked together with his 71 and would were completely proud of a 72 or a 73. “I’m acutely aware of the massive image on this event, I feel, and I feel I knew what as of late used to be all about,” He stated. “It used to be about putting in there. . . . Lately is set getting rid of a nasty spherical. . . . Simply in point of fact operating arduous available in the market to verify not anything slips away.”

It used to be defensive golfing, and no longer everybody had a style for it like Rose did.

“It’s a unique form of enjoyment, proper?” Rose stated. “It’s a form of, I benefit from the fight. I benefit from the combat. I benefit from the grind, in point of fact. I do experience it, particularly whilst you’re at the proper aspect of the combat. While you get somewhat lower up and bruised, it could possibly exchange beautiful fast.”

A kind of who didn’t savor it used to be Masters champion Patrick Reed, pissed off together with his 73 regardless that it left him neatly in competition tied for 20th.“No longer excellent,” he stated. “I wish to blank it up and get my act in combination, get started enjoying golfing.”

In reality, it used to be completely excellent ranking given the vagaries of the breezes and simply how tough it had made issues at Shinnecock. “I think just like the wind’s affecting the whole lot,” Reed stated. “The entirety from ball-striking to the vegetables.”

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