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Dustin Johnson among weathered survivors at top of U.S. Open leader board

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The plaguing wind left them digging sand out in their eyes and looking to cling directly to their caps, and vanity. It grabbed at their shirts and their pantlegs, love it used to be looking to rip the garments off their backs. It ballooned their ratings and stripped away their self-importance. There have been no actual leaders after the primary spherical of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, only a small handful of weather-beaten survivors, a gaggle of 4 avid gamers who slightly controlled to damage par, all tied at 1-under with their 69s.

The secure blow around the sandhills of this crooked outdated par-70 made the flags fly completely horizontal, and tents snap at their cables, and the lengthy grasses wave in sheets. It rocked flagsticks and messed with their judgement, their golfing swings and their dignity.There used to be Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 participant on this planet, looking out on his arms and knees for his ball within the deep fescue of the 6th hollow, lucky to get a unfastened drop when a TV announcer unwittingly stepped on it, a destroy that helped him to his 69. There used to be Tiger Woods, four-putting for a double bogey on the par-Four 13th, on his strategy to a 78 that integrated a triple and two double bogeys.

“Anything else below par in this golfing direction is superb, particularly within the stipulations now we have as of late,” Johnson stated. “I felt like, you realize, from begin to end, it used to be very tough. You had to concentrate on each and every unmarried shot you hit.”

Every now and then, they despatched brief wedge pictures hovering over the carefully mown vegetables. Every now and then, the tilted vegetables spilled pictures again into their laps. The direction performed to a median rating of simply over 76, and the again 9 to an ego-destroying 39. Via the tip of the day there can be 836 bogeys.

“Come on Jordan, select your head up! Pick out your head up!” a spectator yelled at Jordan Spieth, because the 24-year-old went trudging via on his strategy to a 78. Any other spectator stared on the ratings of Spieth’s enjoying companions — Phil Mickelson, who shot 77, and Rory McIlroy, an 80 — and stated, “Dangerous, dangerous, and worse.”

Those who fared the most productive had been those that decreased their expectancies, conceded their dignity, and located a strategy to prohibit the wear. Ian Poulter braced himself to just accept a depressing spherical in a event he has made no secret of hating prior to now — he as soon as vowed by no means to play an Open once more, regardless of his 8 most sensible 10 finishes in majors.

“I haven’t loved very many, to be truthful,” stated Poulter, a Brit. “They’re tough. They’re sizzling. They’re annoying. Feels such as you’re pulling tooth each and every unmarried hollow you play.”

However Poulter by hook or by crook discovered his strategy to a 69 that used to be his perfect get started ever in an Open. “If I hit it within the tough, I hit it within the tough,” he stated. “I’m going to take a look at and make par the laborious means and simply knock it — simply don’t get too slowed down with it.”

Scott Piercy used to be in a similar way informal. On Wednesday, he had stalked off the direction in frustration at the fourth hollow of his apply spherical. He went again to his room and ordered a pizza and checked out some outdated photos of himself, when he used to be swinging smartly. The end result: a 69 that tied him for the lead with Johnson, Poulter, and Russell Henley, a narrow Georgian with 3 PGA Excursion wins to his credit score.

“I kind of began from the ground, in my thoughts,” Piercy stated. “Went house, pounded some pizza, and simply had some a laugh putting round the home. I simply wanted a while away. . . . Golfing’s laborious sufficient as it’s, after which we’re on the U.S. Open.”

The veteran winners of primary championships had been savvy sufficient to grasp that an over-par spherical wasn’t essentially a foul get started in an Open, now not on this northwesterly wind, which gusted from 15 to 30 mph with out a letup, and now not in this direction. Raymond Floyd shot 75 right here in 1986 on the best way to his victory. Protecting champion Brooks Koepka may console himself with the idea that he used to be in just right historic corporate after his personal 75. “You recognize, it’s a U.S. Open,” Koepka stated. “You’ll shoot, no matter, five over as of late and shoot 1 below day after today and be simply positive going into the weekend. So I’m now not too involved.”

Justin Rose, the 2013 champion, knew he used to be in for a difficult day when he arrived on the direction and noticed the flags lining the clubhouse flying “lifeless instantly.” He used to be pleasantly shocked along with his 71 and would were completely proud of a 72 or a 73. “I’m acutely aware of the massive image on this event, I believe, and I believe I knew what as of late used to be all about,” He stated. “It used to be about putting in there. . . . Nowadays is ready getting rid of a foul spherical. . . . Simply truly running laborious in the market to ensure not anything slips away.”

It used to be defensive golfing, and now not everybody had a style for it like Rose did.

“It’s a special form of enjoyment, proper?” Rose stated. “It’s a kind of, I benefit from the struggle. I benefit from the combat. I benefit from the grind, truly. I do revel in it, particularly whilst you’re at the proper aspect of the combat. Whilst you get somewhat lower up and bruised, it will possibly exchange beautiful fast.”

A kind of who didn’t savor it used to be Masters champion Patrick Reed, pissed off along with his 73 although it left him smartly in rivalry tied for 20th.“Now not just right,” he stated. “I want to blank it up and get my act in combination, get started enjoying golfing.”

If truth be told, it used to be completely just right rating given the vagaries of the breezes and simply how tough it had made issues at Shinnecock. “I think just like the wind’s affecting the whole thing,” Reed stated. “The entirety from ball-striking to the vegetables.”

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