THE FLATS – Former U.S. Amateur champion Matt Kuchar carded a 4-over-par 74 Thursday to lead the six-player Georgia Tech contingent at the 118th U.S. Open golf championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.
The Georgia Tech All-American, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour playing in his 16th U.S. Open, birdied two of his first five holes and made the turn in 2-under-par Thursday, but ran into trouble with back-to-back double bogeys at the par-3 11th and the par-4 12th holes. He also bogeyed 13 and 18 on the back nine and is tied for 37th place, six shots off the pace.
Four players are tied for the lead at 1-under-par 69, including world No. 1 player Dustin Johnson and Russell Henley, who played in the afternoon wave, along with Scott Piercy and Ian Poulter, who played in the morning.
Roberto Castro, a five-year PGA Tour veteran playing on the Web.com Tour this year, finished with a birdie at the ninth hole to shoot 75 (+5). He is tied for 46th place, while both of his playing partners, former Yellow Jackets Ollie Schniederjans and Richy Werenski, each shot 76 and are tied for 66th place.
Chesson Hadley, who earned his first U.S. Open berth based on his top-60 official world ranking on May 21, also shot 76, part of a 22-player logjam at that position.
Tech junior-to-be Tyler Strafaci, who made it through local and sectional qualifying to be one of 20 amateurs in the field, posted a 78 (+8) and is tied with former U.S. Open champions Ernie Els, Jordan Spieth and Tigers Woods, and topped two other former champions in Jason Day (79) and Rory McIlroy (80). The Davie, Fla., native birdied the par-5 fifth hole and the par-4 12th on Thursday.
— Georgia Tech Golf (@GTGolf) June 15, 2018