Facing demanding and gusty conditions, Shubhankar Sharma carded a gritty four-over 74 in the opening round of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills to lie tied 37th in Southampton.
The 21-year-old Sharma, who came through the qualifiers in Columbus, had two birdies against six bogeys – three of them on back nine between the 11th and 17th.
“It was pretty tough out there, with some very high scores. I have been here since Friday and played the course a few times, but it was totally different from what it was on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday”, said Sharma, whose two birdies came on fifth and ninth.
Meanwhile, World No. 1 Dustin Johnson shot one-under 69 to be among the four joint leaders. Only four players were under par for the first day and only Jason Dufner (70) shot even par to be T-5th.
Many of the big names had a nightmarish day and that included Tiger Woods (78), but Rory McIlroy (80) was the worst among former champions.
Jason Day (79), Jordan Spieth (78), Jon Rahm (78), Phil Mickelson (77) and Bubba Watson (77) were among the stars to suffer on the brutal Shinnecock Hills.
Sharma, who dropped bogeys at the second, fourth, sixth, 11th, 14th and 17th holes, said, “The club selection on lot of the holes was very, very different from what we had planned. We had to adapt to the conditions.”
“It was tough, windy and I remember from the time I was at the range at 7.30 am it started and it became gusty and it stayed like that tough till 4-5 pm. I was happy with the way I played front nine, when I was one-over.
“The back nine was very tough. Personally I hit a few good shots, but they ended in bad places. Like on 17, the wind stopped suddenly and I ended going over and it was a tough up and down (and it was a bogey).”
Sharma said he was happy with his performance given the demanding conditions.
“Things are always tough at the US Open and considering all that, I was happy with the way I played. At the US Open it is not easy and you can put yourself out of the tournament on the first day, so with that in mind, it was not a bad day. I was happy with way I played and hopefully I will grind out another good round,” he said.
Dustin Johnson, who got to the top of the world rankings with his PGA TOUR victory at the FedEx St. Jude Classic last week, shot 69 to join Ian Poulter, Russell Henley and Scott Piercy in a four-way tie for the lead.
South Korea’s An, who lost in a playoff at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago, carded 71 to emerge as the leading Asian golfer in T-6 position.