Adam Hadwin of Canada has never finished in the top 20 in his 19 previous appearances in the major championships, but you wouldn’t have known it on Thursday.
The 34-year-old Hadwin (pictured) shot 4-under-par 66 to take a one-stroke lead over third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Callum Tarren of England, David Lingmerth of Sweden, MJ Daffue of South Africa and Joel Dahmen after one round of the 122nd U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
Hadwin got into the tournament as a alternate when Paul Casey of England withdrew because of a back injury.
“I got off to a great start and hit a lot of greens on the front nine to give myself some good opportunities,” said Hadwin, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2017 Valspar Championship. “The meat of the course comes on the back nine, but I was able to scramble around and get it done. I had good speed on the greens.
“I played some really solid golf and just felt very comfortable out there. I never got ahead of myself and I just want to keep doing that. You can’t win the tournament on Thursday, but you can lose it and I’m very happy with the way I stayed in control.
“You never know what’s going to happen, but it’s pretty cool that I always will be able to say I was ahead after a round in the U.S. Open.”
Hadwin, who has won 11 times on lower tours, collected five birdies on the last six holes of the front nine and made one more on the back nine against two bogeys in his round.
McIlroy, who won the 2011 U.S. Open and has four major tiles but none since the 2014 PGA Championship, had two birdies on each nine and didn’t make his only bogey until the last hole while carding his 67, but showed some anger on the course.
“You’re going to encounter things at a U.S. Open, whether they be lies or stuff like that, that you just don’t really encounter any other week,” said McIlroy, who claimed his 21st PGA Tour victory last week in the RBC Canadian Open. “It’s hard not to get frustrated at times because I’m walking up there going like, ‘Just come back into the bunker.’ The thickest rough on the course is around the edges of the bunkers.
“I was sort of cursing the USGA when I was going up to the ball. It’s one of those things. It happens here, it doesn’t really happen anywhere else. You just have to accept it. I gave the sand a couple of whacks because I’d already messed it up. … I just reset and played a decent bunker shot, and then it was really nice to hole that putt (for a par on the fifth hole).
“But yeah, you’re going to encounter things this week that you don’t usually come across the other weeks of the year, and you just have to try to accept them as best you can.”
Lingmerth recorded a bogey-free 67, which Tarren matched thanks to an eagle on the eighth hole, while Dahmen birdied three of his last five holes and Daffue made four birdies on his back nine.
Dustin Johnson, who won the 2016 U.S. Open and the 2020 Masters, had two birdies on each nine in a 68 and is tied for seventh with Matt Fitzpatrick of England, Brian Harman, Justin Rose of England, Matthew NeSmith, Hayden Buckley and Aaron Wise of Lake Elsinore, who eagled the eighth hole.
Second-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain totaled 69 and is in a tie for 14th that includes fifth-ranked Justin Thomas, the reigning PGA champion, seventh-ranked Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, and Patrick Rodgers of Stanford.
Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, the reigning Masters champion, birdied his two last holes for a 70 and is in a tie for 26th that includes eighth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway, 2021 Olympic Gold Medalist Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, and 2020 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan.
Ninth-ranked Sam Burns is tied for 42nd at 71, while fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA finished at 73 and is in a tie for 57th that includes sixth-ranked Cameron Smith of Australia and 10th-ranked Jordan Spieth, the 2015 U.S. Open champion.
Phil Mickelson of San Diego, a six-time major champion who needs to win the U.S. Open to complete the Career Grand Slam, struggled to a 78 on his 52nd birthday and is tied for 144th.
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