Here we take a look to see where the winner of the US Open tends to finish after the first round from those last 30 editions of the competition

Where The US Open Winner Finishes In Round One

Since 1989, there have been 31 US Opens, America’s national annual championship, with 23 different men winning.

Here we take a look to see where the winner tends to finish after the first round from those last 31 editions of the competition.

First Place

Going by the old adage of it being important to get off to a good start, the winners of the US Open have tended to defy it.

In the 30 events that have been held since 1988, only six of the winners of the competition have actually led after the first round, with Tiger Woods leading the first round in both 2000 and 2002.

The other winners of the US Open to have been leading after the first round are:

  • Martin Kaymer – 2014
  • Rory McIlroy – 2011
  • Retief Goosen – 2001
  • Payne Stewart – 1991 (Stewart was in a share of the lead)

Second Place

Even fewer players who have been in second place after the first round have gone on to win the tournament.

Since 1988, only three players who have been in second after 18 holes have won the US Open, the most recent being Dustin Johnson in 2016, when he was one shot back after one round.

The other players to have finished the first round in second place and then won the competition are:

  • Angel Cabrera – 2007
  • Ernie Els – 1994

Fourth & Fifth Place

No player won the US Open having finished third after the first round from 1988 until 2017, so we move on to see which players have won having ended the first day in fourth and fifth.

However, not that many players have actually gone on to win having finished the first day in either fourth or fifth place.

Brooks Koepka won from being fourth and two strokes behind in 2017, eventually winning by four, although he was the first player to win from either position since 2003.

Other players to have won having finished their first round in fourth or fifth on the leaderboard are:

  • Lee Janzen – 4th in 1993
  • Jim Furyk – 5th in 2003
  • Payne Stewart – 5th in 1999


Five US Open winners since 1988 have finished the first round inside the top-10, but not inside the top-5.

Victorious in 2010, Graeme McDowell was sat in a tie for 10th place, two shots back of the leader on day one, although he went on to win the 110th edition of the competition at Pebble Beach by one shot.

The most recent example of this was Gary Woodland once again at Pebble Beach. After round one in 2019 he was in a tie for 8th place.

The other winners of the US Open to have finished day one inside the top-10 include:

  • Gary Woodland – 2019
  • Jordan Spieth – 2015
  • Geoff Ogilvy – 2006
  • Hale Irwin – 1990
  • Curtis Strange – 1988


The majority of winners of the US Open since 1998 have actually finished the first round outside the top-10, but inside the top-50, with 10 players going on to win the competition having been a long way back after the first round.

Players to have come from outside the top-10 but inside the top-50 to win the US Open are:

  • Brooks Koepka – 2018
  • Justin Rose – 2013
  • Webb Simpson – 2012
  • Tiger Woods – 2008
  • Michael Campbell – 2005
  • Retief Goosen – 2004
  • Lee Janzen – 1998
  • Ernie Els – 1997
  • Corey Pavin – 1995
  • Tom Kite – 1992
  • Curtis Strange – 1989

Biggest Comeback

The biggest deficit a player has come back from after the first round and then win the US Open was by Steve Jones, who came back from 83rd on the leaderboard and seven shots back to claim victory at the 1996 US Open at Oakland Hills.

He went on to win the tournament by one shot, following three rounds in the 60s, after an opening round 74.

Lowest Score after Round One

The biggest lead a player has had after round one since 1988 is shared by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in 2000 and 2011 respectively.

Both players shot 65 to record a six under par score to lead the competition.

Woods and McIlroy went on to win wire to wire in those years – two of eight occasions where the US Open was won wire to wire.

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