Marcus Armitage off to a brilliant par round at the US Open on his American major debut to continue fine form from emotional first pro win… and Tyrell Hatton bounces back from a tough time in the middle of his round
- Marcus Armitage matched par with a first round 71 at the US Open on Thursday
- Salford-born Armitage continued his fine form after picking up his first pro win
- Armitage arrived after 5am but was forced to wait for his American major debut
Marcus Armitage rendered his first round of golf in America a memorable one on Thursday with a fabulous start to the 121st US Open.
The 33-year-old from Salford, who racked up an emotional first pro win at the European Open two weeks ago, continued his good form by matching par with a fine first round 71.
Armitage had arrived excitedly at the course shortly after 5am for his 6.45am tee-time, only to have to wait a further 90 minutes for his American major debut. He took it all in his stride to post his commendable regulation score.
Marcus Armitage’s first round of golf in America was a memorable one after his superb start
As fellow Brit Tyrrell Hatton stood over his approach shot to the first green, his manager and close friend Danny Wardrop enthused about his chances.
‘He’s certainly got his eye in at the moment,’ he said. ‘If only he can get the putter to warm up.’
Moments later, Hatton justified the first part of that comment in spectacular fashion with a laser-accurate stroke from a fairway bunker that struck the flag on the fly. The ball bounced back from whence it came, finishing about 20ft away.
Armitage continued his fine form after his first pro win by matching par with a fine round of 71
The 29-year-old from Marlow, runner-up at the Palmetto Championship on Sunday, rolled in the birdie putt. Down the short par-four second, a fine drive was followed by a pitch to 6ft and he holed that one as well.
Hatton was part of a starry threeball featuring two more near-certainties for Europe’s Ryder Cup team in fellow Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick and Viktor Hovland.
The Norwegian’s chipping used to be his glaring weakness but the shot he played from thick rough around the second green underlined the scale of improvement in this part of his game.
Displaying a gossamer touch worthy of Phil Mickelson, the ball landed softly on the putting surface and fell into the hole. Fitzpatrick had an early bonus as well at the difficult par-four fourth, running along the side of the spectacular clifftop.
Tyrell Hatton endured a tough time in the middle of his round but bounced back coming home
He was looking despairingly after pulling an iron shot towards the Pacific but the ball hung on the very edge of the green and he sank the birdie putt.
The opening holes are the best on the course and the trio were clearly enjoying each other’s company, with plenty of laughter along the fairways.
There wasn’t much to smile about in the middle of their rounds, mind, as Fitzpatrick ran up a double at the 7th and Hatton his first bogey.
The pair bounced back well coming home, with Fitzpatrick notching two birdies in a row from the 13th to be one off the lead, with Hatton a further shot back. Hovland was on two over.
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