Justin Thomas capitalized on a docile Winged Foot Thursday, as the third-ranked player in the world fired a 5-under 65 to take an early U.S. Open lead.
The entire field made the difficult course look rather pedestrian - Round 1's scoring average finished at 72.56, making it the second easiest opening day at a U.S. Open since 1993, according to the 15th Club's Justin Ray.
But Thomas has stood out as the best of the group, carding only one bogey and displaying his world-class ball-striking ability en route to the lowest major championship first-round score of his career.
"It's one of the best rounds I've played in a while tee to green," Thomas said. "There are a couple things here and there that definitely could have been better, but I made sure all of my misses were in the right spot, and that's what you have to do at a U.S. Open."
The 27-year-old has shot a 65 or better in the opening round of a tournament eight times since the start of the 2016-17 season and has gone on to win five of those events, according to the PGA Tour.
Here's how the top of the leaderboard stands in Round 1 with one group unable to finish play due to darkness:
|Place||Player||To Par||R1 Score|
Patrick Reed's hole-in-one on No. 7 helped him post a 4-under 66 and grab a share of second place. Matthew Wolff and Belgian Thomas Pieters later joined Reed one spot behind Thomas with 66's in the afternoon wave.
World No. 1 and tournament favorite Dustin Johnson turned in a surprising 3-over 73. The recently-named PGA Tour Player of the Year struggled in nearly every area and settled into a tie for 71st.
Phil Mickelson's attempt at redemption following his infamous 2006 collapse at Winged Foot did not go according to plan - he shot a 79, only beating two other players in the field.
Round 2 of the U.S. Open begins at 6:50 a.m. ET on Friday.