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Scottie Scheffler Starts U.S. Open With 1-Over-Par 71 At Pinehurst No. 2

scottie-scheffler

There’s no need to panic or for bettors to tear up their Scottie Scheffler win tickets for this U.S. Open.

However, the world No. 1 wasn’t the standout player at Pinehurst No. 2 on Thursday, unlike many of his performances this year on the PGA Tour.

Scheffler, a five-time winner this year, opened with a one-over-par 71 at the challenging yet playable Donald Ross-designed course.

Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy share the early lead after shooting five-under 65s, with McIlroy delivering one of the two bogey-free rounds of the day (the other by Sergio Garcia, who shot 69). Ludvig Aberg is a shot back at four under, while Matthieu Pavon and Bryson DeChambeau are two back at three under.

In total, fifteen players shot under par, collectively amassing fewer wins this season than Scheffler, who leads with five victories.

After one round, in his quest for a second major this season, Scheffler is in a large group tied for 34th place. This marks the first time since last year’s British Open that Scheffler has posted back-to-back over-par rounds.

The first over-par round was last Sunday at the Memorial, where Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village played like a U.S. Open course. Scheffler shot a final-round two-over 74 to hold off Collin Morikawa by one, clinching a $4 million signature event win.

A win this week would net $4.3 million, a major record. So, don’t count him out yet.

After his round, Scheffler did TV interviews and then went straight to the practice tee to work on the loose shots that troubled him Thursday. Despite leading in 50 PGA Tour statistical categories, Scheffler’s driving ranked 116th in strokes gained off the tee in Round 1.

Scheffler hit only six of 14 fairways at Pinehurst No. 2, with two errant drives resulting in bogeys. At the par-4 3rd, he drove into a fairway bunker, hit his approach into a greenside bunker, and made bogey. A left drive at 16 also caused trouble; after a lengthy ruling to get a drop from a temporary movable obstruction (TIO), Scheffler missed the green long and failed to get up and down.

These bogeys, combined with a three-putt from 62 feet at the par-3 6th and two birdies, led to his 71.

He hopes for a more enjoyable round next time.

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