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‘An ace is an ace’: Reed holes out as Aussies flame out at US Open

Matt Jones is six-over-par while amateur Lukas Michel had a debut major round to forget, propping up the field at 10-over.

“Of course I was excited about it, but really I knew from that point that, hey, you need to settle out, get ready for the next hole,” the 2018 Masters champion Reed said of his ace.

Adam Scott is the best-placed Australian in the clubhouse after a one-over opening round.

Adam Scott is the best-placed Australian in the clubhouse after a one-over opening round.Credit:Getty

“Around here at Winged Foot, every golf shot you have to pay attention to because you hit one poor golf shot, a lot of things can happen out here.”

Bad things.

Like what happened on the fifth hole, when Reed wound up in the left rough off the tee and then knocked his second shot into a fairway bunker with another 75 yards to the hole. He left his sand shot 20 yards short of the green and then three-putted from 60 feet for a six.

Reed, who had never played Winged Foot before, said it is the kind of course that can turn a good shot into a bad one with a tough bounce or an unlucky roll onto the wrong side of a ridge.

Former Masters champion Patrick Reed is one shot off the lead after a US Open first round boasting a hole in one.

Former Masters champion Patrick Reed is one shot off the lead after a US Open first round boasting a hole in one.Credit:AP

“How do you react to that, how do you handle it?” he said. “I’ve always been very good forgetting what happened in the past, forgetting what happened on that one shot — move on and focus on what’s coming up.”

And just that’s what he did.

On the very next hole, Reed punched it from the first cut at the front left of the green to within seven feet, and then knocked that in for birdie.

On No. 7, Reed held his follow-through a bit while he strained to see the flight of his ball. He then tipped the bill of his cap before strutting over to bump fists with playing partner Hideki Matsuyama (+1) and their caddies.

A second major looks a way off for Jason Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner seven shots off the US Open pace.

A second major looks a way off for Jason Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner seven shots off the US Open pace.Credit:Getty

Although there are no fans on the course for the pandemic-delayed tournament, a few volunteers let out a holler.

“It was unfortunate the fans weren’t here because that would have been an awesome experience,” Reed said. “It would have been nuts. Up here in New York, the fans are amazing. You go ahead and you hole out from the fairway, you make a hole-in-one, the fans will just go crazy.”

Will Zalatoris (+1) also had a hole-in-one on the seventh.

It was Reed’s second ace as a pro, having rolled one in on the 16th hole at the Houston Open in 2015. That time, he milked the cheering crowd by racing his caddie to the green for the chance to pull the ball out of the cup.

The group featuring Reed, Jordan Spieth (+3) and Hideki Matsuyama (+1) return to the clubhouse at the picturesque Winged Foot course in suburban New York.

The group featuring Reed, Jordan Spieth (+3) and Hideki Matsuyama (+1) return to the clubhouse at the picturesque Winged Foot course in suburban New York.Credit:AP

“An ace is an ace. I’ll take it either way,” Reed said. “Once it went in, I was like, ‘All right, let’s move on, get ready for the next tee shot on eight.’ From that point on, my focus was more on the next hole.”

Reed ran off a string of three birdies in four holes on the back nine and was tied for the lead in the clubhouse before Thomas, in the group behind him, birdied No. 18 to finish at five-under.

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Reed said he was surprised to see the leader at 5 under; the lowest score in any of the five previous US Opens at the club was a 66 by Fuzzy Zoeller in the second round in 1984.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about the golf course, heard it’s a bear,” Reed said. “I love hard golf courses. I think it separates the top golfers compared to the rest of the field. Also, I think it separates the guys that can use creativity and can handle adversity.”

Pre-tournament favourite and world No.1 Dustin Johnson is seven shots off the pace at two-over-par, one clear of three-time winner Tiger Woods.

AP

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