Sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele and Rickie Fowler finished 20 minutes apart and that was about the most they were separated all day.
Schauffele (pictured right) and Fowler (left) set a tournament record by shooting eight-under-par 62 and are tied for the lead after one round in the 123rd United States Open on the North Course at The Los Angeles County Club.
Johhny Miller held the U.S. record of 63 in 1973 at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa. Schauffele and Fowler also tied the major championship record of 62 set by Branden Grace of South Africa in the third round of the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
“It’s not really what you expect playing a U.S. Open, but monkey see, monkey do,” said Schauffele, the 2021 Olympic Gold Medalist from La Jolla and San Diego State. “I was just chasing Rickie up the leaderboard all day. I’m glad he was just in front of me. I was looking at the leaderboard all day and every time I made a birdie it just said I was still in second place. I felt like if he was doing it, why couldn’t I?
“I had pretty good flow throughout the round. I made a long putt on No. 1 and hit some really nice iron shots in from distance. I think the only place we were able to get away with a few mis-hits would be off the tee. Coming into greens you need to be pretty clean. When I wasn’t, I was still able to make birdie because I made some long putts, so I’ll probably try to clean that up as the days go on.
“You just need a little bit more patience (in major championship golf). You’ve got to think your way around the property and tough golf is fun.”
Schauffele, who like Fowler is seeking his first major championship, birdied three of his first five holes and added five birdies on his back nine in his bogey-free round of 62, missing a 28-foot birdie putt at No. 9 that would have given him sole possession of the lead and the record.
Fowler, from Murrieta in Southern California, collected five birdies on each nine against two bogeys in his matching 62, sinking a 13-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole and two-putting from long distance while also finishing at No. 9.
“I knew there were birdies to be made out here, but you have to drive it well and get the ball in position first,” said Fowler, whose biggest victory came in the 2015 Players Championship. “I was able to make some at the start and from there just managed my way around the course really well. It was close to a dream start in a way. I wasn’t swinging great coming into the week and had some work to do Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
“I’ve been playing fairly consistently, but a lot of it for me is what I’ve been able to get out of off weeks where I’m not playing very well. Still, I’ve been able to make the cut and kind of turn those into at least top 20s or top 10s, where the last few years those were missed cuts and going home.
“I knew I was close (to the record), but I wasn’t sure of the exact number. I just tried to keep moving forward. I just needed to trust my putter.”
Dustin Johnson, who has won two major titles including the 2016 U.S. Open, made five birdies on his back nine, but closed with his lone bogey for a 64 and is tied for third with Wyndham Clark, who eagled the first hole and added seven birdies in another 64.
Third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who has claimed four major titles, birdied five of the first eight holes, but had only a birdie and bogey coming home in a 65 and is tied for fifth with left-hander Brian Harman, who also had five birdies on the front nine and two more coming home in another 65.
Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, the 2022 Masters champion, had four birdies on the back nine in a 67 and is tied for seventh with Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open champion who made four birdies on the back nine; Si Woo Kim of South Korea; Paul Barjon of France; Harris English; Mackenzie Hughes of Canada and Sam Bennett.
Seventh-ranked Max Homa of Valencia and Cal is tied for 14th at 68; second-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, the reigning Masters champion, shot 69 and is in a tie for 25th that includes fifth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway, and ninth-ranked Cameron Smith of Australia, the 2022 Open champion.
Eighth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England, the defending champion, totaled 71 and is in a tie for 56th that includes fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, and reigning PGA champion Brooks Koepka, who has five major titles, while 10th-ranked Jordan Spieth is tied for 83rd at 72.
For complete results and second-round tee times, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard