Justin Thomas closed with a 25-foot birdie putt to grab the early clubhouse lead over ace-firing Patrick Reed with Rory McIlroy two adrift in Thursday’s opening round of the 120th US Open.
World No 3 Thomas, the 2017 PGA Championship winner, fired a five-under par 65 at Winged Foot to edge ahead of fellow American Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, at the famed Mamaroneck, New York, layout.
“This is one of the better rounds I’ve had tee to green. I was very proud of my patience,” Thomas said. “I got off to a good start.”
Reed blasted a hole-in-one at the 165-yard par-3 seventh and ran off three birdies in four holes on the back nine to share the lead until the amazing finish by Thomas.
“I was just trying to hit myself a solid iron shot,” Reed said of his ace. “I took a little off it, 90 per cent, and one-hopped it in.”
There were no spectators to applaud either of their amazing shots as a coronavirus pandemic precaution, the deadly virus having delayed the event from its usual June date.
Tiger Woods, a 15-time major winner chasing a fourth US Open title at age 44, grinded all day but closed bogey-double bogey to stand on 73.