PINEHURST, N.C. -- Graham DeLaet played his first round at the U.S. Open not unlike his first round at the Masters.
There were some nerves and there weren't any birdies.
The Canadian ended up posting a five-over 75 on the Pinehurst No. 2 course that left him 10 back of the lead.
“I got off to a rough start,” DeLaet acknowledged after his round. “It might have been just a little bit of nerves. I wasn't hitting my driver great and then a couple of short-game miscues.”
DeLaet started with bogeys on two of the first three holes, including a three-putt on the 12th hole from about 10 feet.
Still, he didn't appear out of sorts on the course in the early going and after a bogey on the par-3 15th, he settled into a nice stretch, rolling off nine-straight pars.
“I felt I got in a pretty good rhythm for the majority of the middle part of my round,” he stated. “I wasn't really able to make birdies, but I had a couple of tap-in pars that kept it stress free.”
He stumbled in, however, making what he called disappointing bogeys on two of the last three holes. An errant tee shot on seven that landed in a bunker led to a bogey while on the last hole he was unable to get on the green in two.
“It was disappointing to bogey seven and nine coming in because, if I was able to finish at three over, I would have been pretty happy,” he said.
The stats show that DeLaet made 10 fairways – above average for the field – and 11 greens, also above the average. But on the greens, the putter didn't seem to be working. He used his flat stick 33 times, far too many, but easily understandable on Pinehurst's difficult greens.
“It's tough,” summed up DeLaet. “It's a tough round of golf. I felt like I handled it well. Unfortunately, I just didn't execute coming in.”
DeLaet's score came on a day when the field posted the lowest scoring average at a U.S. Open since 2003. The course average was 73.23 and there were more under par scores on Day One than in the opening rounds of the previous two years combined.
But on a course that is playing this tough and with few birdie holes on the course, planning a comeback is not as easy. DeLaet understands that and will try to stay the course as he did in the first round.
“It's just being patient,” he stated. “I was proud of myself for doing that all day even though it's hard to aim a nine-iron 30 feet from the hole just trying to make four, but that's kind of what you have to do. We'll see what happens, if I get a little behind the eight ball I might have to press.
“I'm not completely out of it. I know that a good round [Friday] will go a long way to getting back into it.”