Adam Hadwin may take the top spot on the leaderboard after 18 holes at the US Open, but he’s far from controlling the main championship.
Thursday’s first round at The Country Club did little to split the group as many of the biggest names in the sport are only a few steps behind Hadwin’s lead.
While a lot could still change outside of Boston, where there are 54 holes left to play, fans are in for a fun weekend if there’s any sign of Thursday.
Hadwin posted 66 points to take the lead after a flurry of birdies on the front side pushed him to the front of the pack. The 34-year-old Canadian hit five birdies on his last six holes of the top nine to take him 4th under in the tournament. He hit No. 13 with a deep shot that made up for an early scarecrow to ride out even on his back and end his day with a one-punch lead.
Hadwin, who came on as a substitute, is now the first Canadian to hold at least part of the lead after 18 holes since Mike Weir did in 2009, and one of only four in tournament history. His 66 also marked his career best in 63 rounds of major championships.
– Sounds good, doesn’t it? This was announced by Hadwin on NBC. “It was a lot of fun, and you can’t say that at the US Open either.”
Hadwin has just one PGA Tour win, back at the 2017 Valspar Championship, and has yet to finish in the top 20 at the Major. Headwin, who was ranked world No. 105 this week, has been in the Tour’s top 10 four times this season, most notably at The Players Championship.
Rory McIlroy led Thursday’s early morning wave and took a 3rd under lead. McIlroy, who won last week’s RBC Canadian Open, blew his last hole to put him in the lead at the time with plenty of others. McIlroy has had a great run at the Majors this season, finishing second at The Masters and eighth at the PGA Championship, but he hasn’t won a single one in almost eight years.
McIlroy is tied for second with five others, including Korn Ferry Tour member M.J. Duffy. Duffue, who just last month received his PGA Tour card for next season in the Tour development league, joined McIlroy at 67 to start his first major championship.
Joel Damen, David Lingmert and Callum Tarren are also in the under 3 category.
Dustin Johnson leads seven golfers in 2nd place after Thursday after joining the LIV Golf Invitational Series last week. Matt Fitzpatrick, Aaron Wise and Brian Harman are right with him, as is Justin Rose, who hit five birdies on his front nine with three scarecrows. Rose nearly hit 59 in the final round of the RBC Canadian Open last week and hit seven birdies and three eagles on Sunday.
What about LIV golf players?
Thursday was not kind to the members of LIV Golf.
There were 15 golfers on the course this week who have either already played in the LIV or plan to play in the coming weeks. Only two of them even finished below par.
Johnson is in the best position of the group as he finished with 68 to move up to 2nd. James Piot went 1st under and Patrick Reed was by his side even that day while Bryson DeChambeau finished 1st over. Reid and DeChambeau are scheduled to make their LIV debut in Portland later this month.
The worst known names were Louis Ousthuisen and Phil Mickelson. The two have amassed 15 overs and will need a terrific draw on Friday to make it to the weekend. Only Jed Morgan was worse with his 12 overs.
In total, the group went 57 over par.