JUSTIN ROSE believes he has plenty of room for improvement despite equalling the lowest round in a US Open at Pebble Beach.
Rose birdied his last three holes to card a six-under-par 65 and match the mark set by playing partner Tiger Woods on his way to a record 15-shot victory in 2000.
“The only reason I knew my putt on the last was to match Tiger’s score is that Rickie (Fowler) had that putt earlier and I was watching some of the (television) coverage,” said Rose, who enjoyed a one-shot lead over Fowler, Xander Schauffele, Aaron Wise and Louis Oosthuizen. Woods shot 70.
“I thought this would be kind of cool doing this in front of the great man himself. I don’t know if I did a good job of anything other than scrambling today so it’s good to know you can shoot a score like that and have something left in the tank.
“I think playing with Tiger a couple of weeks ago at the Memorial (Tournament) was good. I had those memories. I felt really comfortable. The crowd were big, huge, six or seven deep, pretty much all the way so there’s the obvious noise.
“I had to hit some shots where I didn’t quite have the set-up or the peace and quiet that I would normally hit a golf shot under, I had to try to keep pushing that. But if you play late on a Sunday afternoon it’s noisy. It’s what you want.”
Rose, who won the 2013 US Open at Merion, insisted he would not get carried away by breaking 70 in the first round of the US Open for just the second time, adding: “This is just a very small step towards the outcome.
“You don’t feel that buzz that you would on a Sunday, but you can’t help but look around over your shoulder and damn, this is Pebble Beach. You shot 65 and you’re in the US Open. It’s a cool moment. Whatever transpires the rest of the week, it was a cool moment.”
Yorkshire duo Matt Firtzpatrick and Danny Willet made fine starts, shooting 69 and 71, respectively.
First round scores (USA unless stated, par 71, (a) denotes amateur):
65 Justin Rose (Eng)
66 Xander Schauffele, Aaron Wise, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Rickie Fowler
67 Nate Lashley, Scott Piercy
68 Francesco Molinari (Ita), Sepp Straka (Aut), Gary Woodland, Chesson Hadley,
Chez Reavie, Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Henrik Stenson (Swe)
69 Adri Arnaus (Spa), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Graeme McDowell (NIrl), Viktor
Hovland (a) (Nor), Matt Kuchar, Martin Kaymer (Ger), Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm
(Spa), Marc Leishman (Aus), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Bryson DeChambeau, Matthew
70 Jason Day (Aus), Tiger Woods, Matt Wallace (Eng), Adam Scott (Aus), Zach
Johnson, Jason Dufner, Byeong-Hun An (Kor), (a) Jovan Rebula (Rsa), Carlos Oritz
(Mex), Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Paul Casey (Eng), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa)
71 Brian Stuard, Danny Willett (Eng), (a) Luis Gagne (Crc), Tommy Fleetwood
(Eng), Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Patrick Reed, Brandon Wu
(a), Kyle Stanley, (a) Michael Thorbjornsen, Harris English, Tom Hoge, Haotong
Li (Chn), Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith (Aus), Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Collin
Morikawa, Chip McDaniel
72 Charlie Danielson, David Toms, Charles Howell III, (a) Chandler Eaton,
Jordan Spieth, Richard Lee (Nzl), Andy Pope, Rory Sabbatini (Svk), Sam Saunders
(a) Austin Eckroat, Aaron Baddeley (Aus), Kevin Na, Phil Mickelson, J.B.
Holmes, Scottie Scheffler, Brendon Todd, Luke Donald (Eng), Justin Walters
(Rsa), Jhonattan Vegas (Ven)
73 Justin Harding (Rsa), Andrew Putnam, Nick Hardy, Patrick Cantlay, Daniel
Berger, Justin Thomas, Joseph Bramlett, Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner, Marcus
Fraser (Aus), Ryan Sullivan, Lucas Glover, Matthieu Pavon (Fra), Callum Tarren
(Eng), Lee Slattery (Eng), Billy Hurley III, Keegan Bradley, Jim Furyk, Rob
Oppenheim, Mikumu Horikawa (Jpn), Ian Poulter (Eng)
74 Marcus Kinhult (Swe), Matt Jones (Aus), Branden Grace (Rsa), Cody Gribble,
(a) Spencer Tibbits, Webb Simpson, Tony Finau, Andreas Halvorsen (Nor), Mike
Weir (Can), Nick Taylor (Can), Anirban Lahiri (Ind), (a) Chun Ant Yu (Tpe), Luke
List, Stewart Hagestad (a), Ryan Fox (Nzl), Matthew Naumec, Abraham Ancer (Mex),
Matt Parziale (a)
75 Alex Prugh, Renato Paratore (Ita), (a) Cameron Young, Ollie Schniederjans,
Shugo Imahira (Jpn), Ernie Els (Rsa), Shane Lowry (Irl), Jimmy Walker, Brian
Davis (Eng), Luke Guthrie, Alex Noren (Swe), Bubba Watson, Joel Dahmen, Kiradech
Aphibarnrat (Tha), Sam Horsfield (Eng), Brandt Snedeker
76 (a) Kevin O’Connell, Clement Sordet (Fra), Kyoung-hoon Lee (Kor), Si Woo Kim
(Kor), Julian Etulain (Arg), Dean Burmester (Rsa), (a) Daniel Hillier (Nzl),
Keith Mitchell, Thomas Pieters (Bel)
77 Chan Kim, Connor Arendell, Brett Drewitt (Aus), Guillermo Pereira (Chi),
78 Roberto Castro, Rhys Enoch (Wal)
79 Merrick Bremner (Rsa)
80 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den), Kodai Ichihara (Jpn), Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai), Patton
Kizzire, (a) Noah Norton
82 (a) Devon Bling
83 Eric Dietrich, Zac Blair