Zach Johnson nails incredible putt for birdie at US Open

Brenda Watkins
September 18, 2020

Thursday brought a surprise: all those red numbers.

Justin Thomas led the way with six birdies and only one bogey from a bad lie in the bunker, finishing with a 25-foot birdie putt that he barely touched for a 5-under 65.

Steve Rabideau, Winged Foot's director of golf courses, spoke about the rough heading into the U.S. Open.

Will Zalatoris has the second ace at Winged Foot's par-3 seventh hole.

Northern Ireland's McIlroy opened with a solid three-under-par 67 in NY, which was matched by English former world number one Lee Westwood.

"It's one of those rounds where. next thing you know, you make the putt on 18, you're done for the day".

For all the hype and history of how much punishment Winged Foot has doled out over the years. On Thursday, there were 21.

Thomas went into the week saying it was a "different kind of fun" to grind out pars, to hit middle irons to hard pins instead of the low scoring at so many other tournaments. On the other hand, only twice before has he made at least five birdies in one round at the U.S. Open; he won the event the other two times, in 2000 and 2002.

There were no spectators to applaud any unbelievable shots as a coronavirus pandemic precaution, the deadly virus having delayed the event from its usual June date and sidelined Pieters until last month.

"It's one of the best rounds I've played in a while tee to green", Thomas said.

Baroness Harding on requests for coronavirus test
By contrast, for cases handled either online or by call centres, 63.7% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate. More tests should be available later". "Tests are available even though it's a challenge to get hold of them".

Rahm, who got married just before Christmas, appears to handle setbacks in a better frame of mind these days.

"For the most part, it was all just right in front of me. You go ahead and you hole out from the fairway, you make a hole-in-one, the fans will just go insane", Reed said of what the normal reaction would have been.

Spieth undid the damage of bogeying the first and losing his ball on his way to a double-bogey at the second by posting three straight birdies from the fourth, only to drop a shot at the tenth and card another double-bogey at the par-five 12th. Even so, low scores - at least by Winged Foot standards - kept coming. "He's very quiet", the elder Thompson said.

Expect Rahm to be the leading light of his 6.27pm three-ball with his pal Phil Mickelson and English raider Paul Casey. "If you're into that stuff, then you're going to like this week".

Also far from contention were PGA Tour Player of the Year Dustin Johnson (73), holder Gary Woodland (74) and reigning PGA Championship victor Collin Morikawa (76). The greens were fast but not as firm.

The course is forgiving enough that Jordan Spieth managed to recover from his tough start. He also shot 73.

"The few greens I missed, I hit great bunker shots to give myself good par chances". There were few complaints the rest of the way.

Taking advantage of ideal scoring conditions at Winged Foot, Pieters had five birdies to offset a bogey at the par-5 12th to shoot a 4-under 66.

"He's a player that - yes he has length - but he also has learned to understand how to use that". It's still Winged Foot.

His second shot hit a tree and he finished with a double-bogey six to end the tournament one shot behind victor Geoff Ogilvy.

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