PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Justin Rose slowly but surely made his way to the top of the leaderboard late on Thursday in one of the “easiest” first rounds in recent U.S. Open history. He leads by one over a group that includes Xander Schauffele and Rickie Fowler, by three over Rory McIlroy and by four over Brooks Koepka, among others. Rose did it mostly with his putter in Round 1, which means we could get an early lead change if the putter goes cold in Round 2.
There are other sub-stories, too. Tiger Woods is under par and five back of Rose after inexplicably struggling with his distance control throughout Round 1. There’s also the matter of the course, which McIlroy said the USGA can do whatever they want to in Rounds 2-4. Thursday was a reminder of just how awesome Pebble Beach is as a major championship host, and if the Day 1 leaderboard is any indication, I can’t wait for what’s to come over the final three days.
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