The gruesome greens at Chambers Bay Golf Club grabbed everyone’s attention in the first round of the U.S. Open. At the end of the day Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson shared the lead, while at the other end of the table, Tiger Woods +10 over and Rickie Fowler +11 crashed spectacularly. The fescue grass experiment is not off to a great start, especially as the older greens have never really taken hold properly, and they have been infiltrated by poa annua clumps. The early morning starters had the best of the day.
Dustin and Henrik shot open rounds of -5 under par 65 at the 115th U.S. Open at the much maligned Chambers Bay Golf Club in Washington.
Dustin reported that he is playing with confidence, hitting good irons shots;
“Hit a lot of quality iron shots, the confidence is definitely there.”
Henrik said he had a good day on the greens;
“It was a good day on the greens in all, but especially the last five holes.”
“I hit some beautiful putts and managed to slip a few in there.”
Patrick Reed, with a -4 under par 66, for third place alone reported that he definitely missed a few putts;
” All I had to do was get the ball to the hole and it had a chance of going in. I made some long putts, but I also feel like I missed a lot of good opportunities.”
Matt Kuchar, Ben Martin and the amateur Brian Campbell are tied in fourth place at -3 under par. They are followed by a group of payers at -2 under par.
Phil Mickelson was happy with his start, -1 under par 69 and T14, as he chases the career Grand Slam this week, but did criticize the greens;
“The first round was the round I was going to be most nervous at, getting started.”
“You don’t want to have to fight to come back all the time. You want to get off to a solid start around par.”
“I think the biggest challenge is that the green speeds are different from green to green, that’s going to wreak havoc on our touch.”
“What I found is that they’re not the most true surfaces downhill, because you can’t hit it hard enough to hold the line. But uphill they seem to hold the line just fine.”
“I might have to factor that in, in how I play some shots now, because I think the percentage of made putts uphill from three to nine feet is going to be quite a bit higher than downhill.”
Rory McIlroy, at +2 over par was not quite so outspoken;
“I just didn’t quite have it with the putter today, and that’s something that I need to get right over the next three days if I want to have a chance.”
“I still feel like if you make a good enough stroke and you have the right speed, there’s a good enough chance the ball will go in.”
Sergio Garcia, who started with an even par first round and T26, took to twitter to post;
“Happy with my Even par round today although it could’ve been a bit better by the way I played but this greens are as bad as the look on TV.”