The 2015 U.S. Open: Five Early Impressions


The 2015 U.S. Open has kicked off. The morning wave of the first round is just finished up and the afternoon session is just kicking off.

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So far we have seen a lot of interesting and entertaining golf. We’ve seen things that we expected to see and we’ve had a lot of surprises as well.

With the morning wave coming to a close, I figure I would quickly share my five early impressions of the U.S. Open thus far.

Softer Conditions Than Expected

The biggest surprise is how soft Chambers Bay is playing. Now, it’s not a pillow out there, but compared to what we were seeing and hearing all week long this isn’t what folks were expecting.

The greens aren’t rolling as fast and in turn a lot of golfers came up short on a lot of putts early in the day. That has slowly started to change as the round has progressed however.

The greens are firming up a little bit more as the day goes along. We’ll see how the afternoon wave shoots, but I would expect to see scores a little bit higher compared to the morning wave.

Aggressive Golfers Have Taken Advantage

I mentioned how the majority of golfers were coming up short on putts; giving a lot of respect to the greens. When you see the current leaderboard you’ll notice a trend. The majority of the golfers on top are very aggressive.

They attack pins and they hammer putts. Will that continue to work as the tournament progresses? Probably not, but so far so good. Putting aggressively has worked so far which brings up impression number three…

Greens Have Evened The Playing Field

This is something we did expect. The gap between great putters and poor putters wouldn’t be as drastic and that has been the case so far.

Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Phil Mickelson, and Jason Dufner occupy the top of the leaderboard, but you wouldn’t classify them as great putters.

They are typically pretty pedestrian at best, but they’ve been sinking putts early. They have been giving their putts a chance and the results have been excellent so far.

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Survive The Front; Score The Back

The golfer that wins will be the one who doesn’t bleed strokes on the front nine and takes advantage of the back nine.

The back nine is playing much easier than the back nine. Stenson shot a 4-under on the back nine, so did Patrick Reed.

Francesco Molinari was 3-under, Dufner was 3-under, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was 2-under.

As some of you might know, I was keeping a close eye on Victor Dubuisson and he kind of emphasizes this point.

Dubuisson shot a 4-over for the day and he started off well enough. He played the back nine first and shot a 1-under. Nice and solid, he is right up near the top at this point, but things quickly went south. Dubuisson bogeyed holes one and two and the last three to end his day. You can’t bleed away strokes on holes one to nine.

There are, of course, some outliers. D.J. and Mickelson both ended up shooting a 3-under on the front nine instead of the back nine, but all this leads my to my final thought….

Winner Will Come From Behind

Obviously, this is early and this could change, but my initial impression is that this will be a bunched up leaderboard and the leader heading into Sunday won’t win.

I think the winner will end up be someone who makes a charge. Someone who is about three to four shots down and tees off as the fifth, sixth to last group.

With how tough the first nine holes are playing the leaders will really feel the pressure if they get off to a rough start. The golfer teeing off an hour before the leaders and is a few shots back won’t have that kind of pressure.

They may sort of sail and grind out the front nine and then turn it on in the back nine. Again, without having to deal with much of that pressure.

Next: Hammer Takes On Chambers Bay