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The 2017 U.S. Open got under way at Erin Hills in Wisconsin on Thursday, with defending champion and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson starting the tournament as favourite for another triumph.
Here is a look at the leaderboard as it stands so far, with every player in the field looking to make a decent start to the week’s action:
Erin Hills is a largely unknown quantity for many of the players. It is a new venue for the U.S. Open and only opened in 2006.
“I know nothing about it,” Johnson admitted ahead of the start of this year’s tournament, per the Guardian‘s Ewan Murray.
The course has wide fairways bordered by punishing rough, per BBC Sport’s Stephen Watson:
Stephen Watson @winkerwatson1
I see the rough at Erin Hills @usopengolf is pretty scary! https://t.co/pNh9UZ4s3b
At just over 7,700 yards, it is also the longest course in major history, per CBS Sports’ Kyle Porter.
So, long hitters will be at an advantage, and Johnson is one of the longest.
Two-time major winner Jordan Spieth could also have an edge, having competed at Erin Hills at the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship, when he reached the quarter-finals.
The 2015 U.S. Open champion has been remarkably inconsistent of late. In his last seven tournaments, he has missed three cuts and finished in the top 20 on the other four occasions—one tied-11th, one fourth, one tied-second and a tied-13th.
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However, the 23-year-old steps up at the big events. In his last nine major appearances, he has nine top-40 finishes, including two victories.
Only once has he shown major signs of feeling pressure, when he threw away a five-shot lead to finish in a tie for second at the 2016 Masters.
For such a young player, his temperament is remarkable, and that will be essential at Erin Hills, where it will be a war of attrition between the course and the players.
If both Johnson and Spieth play to their best, it could become a shootout between the pair.
However, both will need a fine opening round on Thursday to put themselves in contention and send out a warning to the rest of the field that they are on form.
Predictions: Champion to finish on -5, Johnson to finish outside top 10, Spieth to finish top three.