Alabama Golfers Struggle in Round 1 of U.S. Open
After a 90 minute fog delay backed up the morning tee times, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines finally got underway and the course certainly lived up to expectations as one of the tougher tests in golf.
Scoring average for the morning rounds was a 73.8 or 2.8 strokes over par even though the fog made conditions somewhat favorable in early morning play. Expectations among experts is that it will only get harder as the days and weeks go along.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for the four Crimson Tide alums participating in this year’s Open who all struggled with their opening rounds.
Justin Thomas was naturally one of the pre-tournament favorites, brimming with confidence going into his round. The confidence turned to frustration as JT just couldn’t seem to get it together on the first day of play.
Thomas did manage to shoot a respectable 2-over par 73 despite the fact that he only hit 5-of-14 fairways (36%) and 9-of-18 greens in regulation (50%). Thomas’ short game kept him in the mix and he managed to avoid major difficulties with three bogeys to go along with one birdie. His putter certainly kept him in the game as he only needed 29 putts, slightly below the field average.
Behind Thomas were the trio of Crimson Tide golfers, Davis Shore (+5, 76), Wilson Furr (+6, 77) and Robby Shelton (+7, 78). Considering this was the first U.S. Open for Shore and Furr, they distinguished themselves quite well with Shore making a quick birdie putt on 2 and maintaining his pace to be just 1-over through 11 holes.
Coming home, however, some wayward tee shots got the best of him as he closed with four bogeys over his final seven holes. The USGA did a very nice thing in pairing Shore with his college teammate Wilson Furr.
It probably helped both of them to relax as Furr too was having a very respectable round through 11 holes sitting at 2-over par. The course just doesn’t let up though and he too bogeyed four of his last seven holes ending with that 77. Furr did scramble impressively, however, in that he only hit 5-of-18 greens so it could have been worse if not for some solid cleanups.
Shelton, playing in his 2nd U.S. open also fell victim to the difficult back nine shooting 5-over on his way to the final score of 78, Like Furr, Shelton struggled to hit a lot of greens in regulation with only six but managed himself when he got near the hole to avoid very big numbers.
The quartet of Bama golfers all have afternoon tee times on Friday and will have some significant work to do if they want to make the cut. While Thomas will probably be safe, the three less experienced Crimson Tide alums will probably have to shoot somewhere around even par tomorrow in order to have a shot at playing the weekend.
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