Rose birdies last 3 holes to lead Open, while Woods seems in the hunt

Tiger Woods hits from the rough on the fifth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament Thursday, June 13, 2019, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Justin Rose is the leader after the first round of the U.S. Open, with birdies on the last three holes to tie the Open scoring record at Pebble Beach with a 6-under 65. The 2011 Open champion has a one-shot lead over four players, including early starter Rickie Fowler.

Rose tied the 2000 mark set by Tiger Woods, one of his playing partners Thursday. Woods scrambled to a 70 and was five shots back. The other member of the threesome, Jordan Spieth, shot a 72.

Rose made seven birdies against a lone bogey on the eighth hole. He finished off his round with a 12-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th. Woods sandwiched three birdies against a double bogey on No. 5, then parred every hole on the back nine.

Aaron Wise is the fourth player in the clubhouse with a 5-under par 66 in the first round of the U.S. Open.

Wise had six birdies and one bogey in the afternoon at Pebble Beach to join Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele and Louis Oosthuizen in a tie for the lead.

Nathan Lashley shot a 67 in the afternoon to join Scott Piercy one shot behind the leaders.

Jordan Spieth is having a rough start to the U.S. Open, and so is his caddie.

Spieth was at even par when his tee shot on the par-4 eighth rolled — and rolled — down the fairway until it ran out of grass, tumbled over the cliff and down to the rocks below. After a penalty drop, he sent his third shot flying over the green into deep rough, the worst place to miss. He muttered to himself, “Two perfect shots.”

He then said to caddie Michael Greller, “Two perfect shots, Michael. You got me in the water on one and over the green on the other.”

Spieth did well to escape with bogey, and then bogeyed the next hole and was 2 over at the turn.

It’s another birdie from the beach for Brandt Snedeker.

Snedeker hit his drive on the par-5 18th hole down the cliff and onto the beach that runs below the left side of the fairway.

No problem. He stepped into the sand, chipped back onto the golf course, then got up and down for birdie to make the turn in the first round of the U.S. Open at even par.

If it looked familiar, well, it was. In February at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Snedeker made birdie in almost exactly the same manner.

Put Rory Sabbatini down for a 1.

Sabbatini made the first hole-in-one at the U.S. Open since 2014 on the 202-yard 12th hole at Pebble Beach.

Playing a neon yellow ball, he hit an iron onto the green, where the ball bounced hard twice, then clanged into the hole.

It was the eighth U.S. Open ace at Pebble and the 45th in tournament history. The last came from Zach Johnson on No. 9 at Pinehurst in 2014.

Tiger Woods slammed his club, kicked at the sand and cursed at himself as several shots from the tee and bunker went awry on the back nine at Pebble Beach.

Thanks to some clutch putting and sound strategy, Woods managed to prevent any of those mistakes from turning into bogeys and finished under par in a round at the U.S. Open for the first time in seven years. Woods finished with 11 straight pars for a 1-under 70 on Thursday, leaving him five shots behind leader Justin Rose.

“It’s typical Pebble Beach where the first seven holes you can get it going, and then after that you’re kind of fighting and kind of hanging on,” Woods said. “I kind of proved that today. I had it going early and had to fight off through the middle part of the round and hung in there with pars. Very pleased to shoot under par today.”

Woods had his only birdies on the front nine, connecting on the fourth, sixth and seventh holes where the course is easier than it is on the back nine. What prevented this from being better was the one hole Woods couldn’t save himself on.

Caught between clubs at the par-3 fifth, hit a 6-iron way left. The ball bounced on the cart path and went even farther away from the hole. He pitched it back through the green, chipped past the pin and missed a 10-footer for bogey.

“A terrible tee shot,” he said. “I was in between clubs. I wasn’t committed to hit a 6-iron. I know from playing the practice rounds that I probably should hit 7 because I can hit it 15 yards short of the green, and there’s a little shelf there that will funnel the ball onto the front part of the green.

“And I hit a terrible shot, but the second shot was good. But the mistake was the third shot, and I hit it above the hole. And a simple little pitch shot, if I leave it 10 feet below the hole, easy shot, move on with the bogey.”

Woods erased that mistake with two straight birdies and then avoided any more bogeys by making sure any errant shots the rest of the way were left below the hole where the putts are much easier to convert.

Woods missed after shot far to the right on 13, dropping his club and cursing in frustration but managed to hit his third shot from short of the green to 5 feet and made par.

Then on the par-5 14th, Woods hit his second shot into the greenside bunker. His chip went into the rough on the other side, leading him to slam his club and kick the sand. He then he chipped it 30 feet past the hole but made that putt as well, leading to his biggest fist pump of the day.

Woods then made par on the final two holes after ending up in the bunker to complete a round that included 11 one putts.

“It’s just fighting it out and grinding it out,” Woods said. “But I still say that it’s important to miss the ball in the correct spots. And, granted, I made a few putts today, but they were all uphill. Hitting the ball in the correct spots, if I happened to not feel comfortable with a number, dump the ball 30, 40 feet, move on about my business.”

Woods is a three-time winner at the U.S. Open. He won by a record 15 shots here in 2000, again two years later at Bethpage Black and then in a 19-hole playoff against Rocco Mediate in 2008 at Torrey Pines.

He had top 10 finishes the next two years, including a tie for fourth at Pebble Beach in 2010, but has had little success at this tournament of late. Since shooting an opening-round 69 in 2012 at Olympic Club, Woods had failed to break par in 11 straight rounds heading into this year’s tournament.

He missed three of the past five U.S. Opens with injuries and missed the cut the last two times he played in 2015 and ’18.

But after ending a more than decade-long drought by winning his 15th career major at the Masters earlier this year, Woods hopes to get back in contention at a course he has enjoyed success at in the past.



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