San Francisco, CA – Michael Thompson teed it up in his first major championship as a professional on Thursday.
Thompson birdied six of his last 12 holes to shoot 66. He leads by three after the first round of the U.S. Open. That matches the largest first-round lead since 1960.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy led by three last year at Congressional, but the conditions are much different this year at The Olympic Club. Thompson is just fine giving McIlroy or Woods the spotlight.
"The way I look at it is I've always kind of flown under the radar. Obviously, my name's in the spotlight, but a lot of people don't know who I am," Thompson stated. "And I'm totally okay with that because I've always been a player that just kind of hangs around. I don't give up very easily and I'm very proud of that. Give Tiger the spotlight. I don't care. I'm going to go out and play my game. If I go out and putt the way I did today I'll be in contention."
Here's what other players were saying after the first rounds of the 112th U.S. Open.
- RORY MCILROY'S opening 77 was 12 shots worse than his first-round 65 at Congressional last year. The defending champ said: "I tried to approach it like any other tournament I play. I tried to go out there and shoot the best score I could. And today wasn't my greatest day, but hopefully I can come out tomorrow morning and try and shoot a good one and at least try to be here for the weekend."
- PHIL MICKELSON, a five-time runner-up at this championship, on what he needs to do on Friday: "I've got a tough challenge just to get to the weekend tomorrow. Unfortunately. But I think that we don't get to see or have the opportunity to test ourselves under such a difficult condition so I'll go out tomorrow and see if I can shoot something under par. I think that it will be kind of have to put this round aside for now and see if I can just play one round under par and maybe that will get me to the weekend."
- DAVID TOMS, the 2001 PGA Champion, on the course set up: "I thought the golf course was set up pretty nicely, actually. You saw four-under par today, so obviously you can score on the golf course the way it was set up. They had a couple of tees moved up. It was just very, very difficult to get the ball in the fairway. So if you can't do that, then you can't attack the pins that are close to the edges. For me, one-under par was obviously a great round of golf. My short game was good today, my up-and-down game. I scored probably better than I played."
- BUBBA WATSON commenting on his round with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson: "We're not watching what anybody else is doing. I'm struggling on my own. I don't need to worry about anybody else. You just know at the end of the day [Tiger] had a red number by his name and I had eight-over. At the end of the day, I know he played pretty good."
- ANDY ZHANG, the 14-year-old amateur, got into the field after Paul Casey withdrew. This is what he'll take from his first round experience: "It will definitely help a lot. It's something that I can never learn playing the junior tournaments. The junior tournaments, I start bad with maybe with a triple or double and then I can work my way in like probably finish around one-over or even. But not here. Not in the Olympic Club. But still I think I kept myself pretty calm out there. I think I'm pretty happy with that."