MAMARONECK, N.Y. — Everyone was bracing for high scores at Winged Foot. But with soft conditions for the start of the U.S. Open, Justin Thomas shot a 65 for the lowest round ever in a U.S. Open at the Westchester County, New York, course.
Thomas finished with a 25-foot birdie putt for one-shot lead over Patrick Reed among early starters. Rory McIlroy was another shot back.
Meanwhile, making a hole-in-one on an empty golf course deprived Patrick Reed of the cheers that typically accompany any great shot. It did, however, do a whole lot for his score. Reed one-hopped a 9-iron into the cup on the 165-yard, par-3 seventh hole at Winged Foot in the first round of the U.S. Open. The ace helped him erase a double bogey on No. 5 and set him up to finish at 4 under for the day, just one stroke behind leader Justin Thomas heading into the afternoon.
Thomas played with Masters champion Tiger Woods and PGA champion Collin Morikawa, who couldn’t get done fast enough. Woods finished with a double bogey and shot 73. Morikawa, who shot 40 on the back nine for a 76.
Phil Mickelson opened his return to Winged Foot with two birdies but gave both shots back over the next two holes. Winged Foot was the site of the most painful of Mickelson’s six U.S. Open runner-up finishes, when he blew a one-shot lead on the 18th hole in 2006.
Winged Foot is reputed to be among the toughest of all U.S. Open tests. Only two players have finished under par there in five previous Opens: Fuzzy Zoeller and Greg Norman in 1984. Zoeller won in an 18-hole playoff.