Rose equals Woods' record as Aussies chase

Marc Leishman sits four shots behind leader Justin Rose after the first round of the US Open at Pebble Beach.

MARC LEISHMAN of Australia hits a tee shot in the final round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in Jeju, South Korea.
MARC LEISHMAN of Australia hits a tee shot in the final round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in Jeju, South Korea. Picture: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Marc Leishman and his fellow Australians will have to chase US Open leader Justin Rose on day two after the Englishman matched the best opening round at Pebble Beach since Tiger Woods' historic 2000 victory.

Leishman was the leading Australian but was no match for 2013 US Open winner Rose in the first round as he equalled the 65 Woods opened with during his record 15-shot win at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach.

World No.21 Leishman carded a two-under-par 69 but finished Thursday four shots behind Rose at the iconic seaside California course, which is hosting its sixth US Open.

Rose leads by one from Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele, Aaron Wise and Louis Oosthuizen (66).

Rose was excited but knows there are 54 holes remaining in what is usually the most dramatic and controversial of golf's four major championships.

"This is just a very small step towards outcome," he said. "So you don't feel like that buzz that you would on a Sunday.

"But you can't help but look around and think 'Damn! This is Pebble Beach. I shot 65 in the US Open. It's a cool moment."

Given the US Open is known for narrow fairways, thick rough and fast greens, a soft Pebble Beach allowed 57 players to shoot even par or better on Thursday.

Though frustrated by two early bogeys, Leishman overall was satisfied with his round.

"The course was out there to be had and it was nice to fight back and shoot a couple under," he said.

Leishman is the leading Australian, with Jason Day and Adam Scott posting a one-under 70.

It was Day's first competitive round with accomplished caddie Steve Williams on the bag while Scott was pleased at draining an 18-foot par putt on his last hole to remain under par.

"Overall I played really good besides a couple bad wedge shots that had me scrambling on 18 and 1," Scott said about sloppy bogeys at the par-5 18th and par-4 first.

"But we've got 54 holes to play and you never know; I might be sitting on the winning score. You don't know how it's going to pan out."

Cameron Smith carded an even-par 71, while fellow Australians Aaron Baddeley (72), Marcus Fraser (73), Matt Jones (74) and Brett Drewitt (77) were all over par.


AAP