Zero Rounds In The 80s: Historic Day At US Open

As well as witnessing a pair of 62s, we didn't get a single round in the eighties

The Los Angeles Country Club US Open 2023
The Los Angeles Country Club was a sitting duck in round one of the 2023 US Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When a picture was shared on social media earlier this week of a golf ball dropping into the penal rough and out of sight at Los Angles Country Club, lots of people, players included, started to predict scoring chaos at the US Open – but how wrong they all were.

Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele set a new record for the lowest round in US Open history to lead after a day of scintillating scoring on the West Coast. The American pair were among the early starters and took advantage of the benign conditions to shoot eight-under 62s, remarkably within 20 minutes of each other.

“It’s not really what you expect playing a US Open,” said Schauffele, who wasn’t exactly complaining. “I'd say the sun didn't come out and it was misting this morning, so I'd say the greens held a little bit more moisture than anticipated for myself at least.

“I think it made the greens sort of that more holeable speed almost, and then coming into greens you're able to pull some wedges back. And then the fairways are a little bit softer, too, because of that sort of overcast, and without the sun out it's not drying out much. I think fairways are easier to hit and greens are a little bit softer.”

This is the 123rd playing of America’s national Open, and in the previous 122 of those there hadn’t been a single round of 62. That, according to golf stats guru, Justin Ray, was more than 47,000 US Open rounds recorded without one.

And the low scores kept on coming, and there are a host of players stacked up behind, including Dustin Johnson and Wyndham Clark on six-under, and Brian Harman and Rory McIlroy just a shot further back. By the end of Thursday’s round, 37 players had broken par, which left some questioning whether the US Open set-up was made too easy.

One of the most surprising stats of the day was the number of players to have shot 80-plus – zero. Never have we had a round one or round two in the US Open without a single score of 80-plus. Aaron Wise and amateur Alexander Yang prop up the leaderboard after carding 79s, which is most unusual for a tournament that usually plays so fast and firm.

The weather forecast for the remainder of tournament looks similar, although California man Schauffele is not expecting the North Course to be quite so friendly. “I'm anticipating the sun to come out just as much as every West Coast person out here,” he added. I'm thinking the course is going to firm up a little bit.”

Most people would share that opinion. This is the first time Los Angeles Country Club has hosted the US Open and it’s possible that the USGA decided to err on the side of caution and not risk a fierce backlash from players struggling to hold fairways and greens.

John Bodenhamer USGA US Open

How will John Bodenhamer and his USGA team react to Thursday's low scoring round at Los Angeles Country Club?

(Image credit: Getty Images)

However, the USGA’s John Bodenhamer may well decide to help the course show its teeth over the next few days, especially if the sun struggles to break through the marine layer. Whatever happens with the sun and the clouds, it would be no surprise to see the scoring average head in the other direction over the weekend.

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.