Rickie Fowler got his quest for US Open glory off to the best possible start by signing for the joint lowest score in relation to par in the tournament’s history.
Aided by favourable morning conditions, the 28-year-old started on fire with three birdies in his first five holes and maintained that momentum to sign for a bogey-free seven-under-par 65.
It was the first bogey-free opening round of seven-under-par in US Open history and the total gave him the clubhouse lead by one from Paul Casey and Xander Schauffele and two ahead of Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and Brian Harman.
“You don't get many rounds at the US Open that are stress-free,” admitted Fowler afterwards.
“I just did a good job. I knew I needed to drive it well and from there I continued to swing well, hit good shots and roll a couple in. So it was a simple day when you look back on it and how we kind of pieced our way around the golf course.”
The last six major champions – Sergio Garcia, Jimmy Walker, Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Danny Willett and Jason Day – were all first-time major winners and, after the Spaniard’s win at Augusta, Fowler is now deemed by many to be the best current player without a major title.
But does the American feel any added pressure because of that or feel demeaned at being branded with that title? Not at all.
“I take it as a compliment,” said Fowler. “There are a lot of really good players out here that haven't won a major. It would be nice to get rid of that at some point.
“I'm not saying that this is the week or isn't the week. But I like the way this golf course suits me, and we're off to a good start. There's definitely a lot of golf to be played.”