2022 U.S. Open leaderboard breakdown: Adam Hadwin leads as Rory McIlroy tops stars threatening after Round 1

2022 U.S. Open leaderboard breakdown: Adam Hadwin leads as Rory McIlroy tops stars threatening after Round 1

The world’s best are off and running at the 122nd U.S. Open as big names have shot out of the gates at The Country Club. It began early Thursday with Rory McIlroy vaulting to the top of the leaderboard with a nearly flawless 3-under 67 effort. Dropping a shot late in his round, McIlroy would later be matched by by Joel Dahmen, MJ Daffue and a pair of European counterparts at 3 under.

“You’d take 67 around this golf course any day,” said McIlroy. “Even though I’m standing up here slightly frustrated that I bogeyed the last, it’s a great start to the tournament. I felt like I did most things well today. I certainly putted well, and I hit the ball in the right spots, and I hit a lot of greens, gave myself plenty of chances. Just basically did everything that you need to do at a U.S. Open.”

However, that entire group would be surpassed by Adam Hadwin, who turned in the round of the day with a 4-under 66 in the afternoon. The Canadian is in the midst of a sneaky strong season, which at one point included three consecutive top-10 finishes but has yet to taste contention in a major championship.

Hadwin has his work cut out for him the rest of the way as suitable chasers are lining up at the door. Defending champion Jon Rahm, PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and two-time major title-holder Collin Morikawa are all only three strokes back at 1 under, and they will look to ascend up the leaderboard in Friday’s second round.

There is still plenty of action to touch on, and that is exactly what we plan to do here as we break down the top of the Round 1 leaderboard at the 122nd U.S. Open.

2022 U.S. Open leaderboard breakdown

1. Adam Hadwin (-4): The Canadian made his way into this week’s field when Paul Casey withdrew due to injury. Gaining entry as an alternate in sectional qualifying, Hadwin hardly looked like one on Thursday as all facets of his game were in sync. Leading the field in strokes gained tee to green, there is still room for improvement as the 34-year-old ranked 60th in strokes gained putting in Round 1. That should draw fear into the eyes of his chasers, but still, it is not as if he has been in this position often as his career best finish in a major championship is T24 at the 2018 Masters. He has enjoyed a nice 2022 season which included a T9 at the Players Championship, but the next three days will be a whole different animal. 

T2. Rory McIlroy, Joel Dahmen, Callum Tarren, M.J. Daffue and David Lingmerth (-3): Ever since his final round at the 2022 Masters, McIlroy, the four-time major champion, has been rolling. He continued his fine play Thursday at The Country Club, but it was not without some head scratching moments. Posting more than four strokes gained putting, the Northern Irishman put together the third best performance with the flat stick in hand of his PGA Tour career. Strong off the tee and quite proficient with his irons, it was around the green where he fell short.

Kyle Porter called McIlroy’s around the green game “underrated,” and I tend to agree as he ranks fourth in said category on the year and ahead of names like Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith and Patrick Reed, yet he is rarely mentioned in the same breath. He will need this area of the bag to rebound as he has had some trouble backing up one great round with another.

T7. Matt Fitzpatrick, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and four others (-2): Nine years later and the 2013 U.S. Amateur did not miss a beat as Fitzpatrick looked extremely at ease during his first round at The Country Club. Ranking 10th in strokes gained tee to green, the Englishman continued to thrive off the tee and was able to hide an extremely loose iron performance thanks to a strong short game effort. He has been knocking on the door for what seems like an eternity and on paper the 2022 version of Fitzpatrick is different. Having been in the final pairing at the 2022 PGA Championship, it is possible the heartache from Southern Hills leads to jubilation in Brookline.  

T14. Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris, Justin Thomas, Max Homa and seven others (-1): Plenty of big hitters check in at this number and are still firmly in contention. Homa is of considerable interest based on his iron performance as he put together the best approach numbers of his career on Thursday having gained nearly 4.5 strokes on approach. Perhaps we should be encouraged by this or perhaps we should be encouraged by the likes of Rahm and Zalatoris not having their “A” game yet still signing for under-par rounds. However, a handful of these players may make a move Friday, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them is raising the U.S. Open trophy come Sunday.

T26. Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, Daniel Berger, Scottie Scheffler and 12 others (E): World No. 1 Scheffler finished birdie-birdie to get back to even par; however, there is another American worth highlighting. Schauffele hit only 50% of the fairways and was still able to get in the house at even par, which seems like a heist. It felt as if he was all over the place Thursday as he carded four birdies to offset four bogeys. In his five U.S. Open appearances, he has five top-10 finishes; however, he has yet to truly contend as his average deficit entering the final round has been 5.4 strokes. A big round Friday afternoon could give him a realistic opportunity to be within reach heading into the weekend.

T42. Joaquin Niemann, Sam Burns, Bryson DeChambeau, Corey Conners and eight others (+1): After an eagle on the par-5 eighth, it appeared that Niemann would threaten the first page of the leaderboard as he stood at 2 under for the day. With three bogeys in his final four holes, the young Chilean is not out of this championship, but the mountain is certainly steeper than what it could have been. Some strong names are alongside Niemann, and after rounds of 1 over, they have little room for error over the next 54 holes.

T57. Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Young and 19 others (+2): It was a typical Spieth round as he began his day with three bogeys in his first four holes and had to claw his way back to 2 over. He remains less than 100% healthy, but all things considered, I would take Thursday’s effort as a small victory as he ranked inside the top 10 on approach shots. Despite the short game being less than stellar, he is only six strokes off the pace. While Young was in a similar spot as Spieth from a statistical standpoint, Cantlay was not as his iron play was simply dreadful. If he is to somehow flip the narrative on his major championship woes, those clubs will need to get going as he was solid both off the tee and on the greens.

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