Stenson and Rose well set as Poulter and Johnson share lead
Ian Poulter and Dustin Johnson head into day two at the US Open with a share of the lead but 2016 Champion Golfer of the Year Henrik Stenson is one of a number of players in contention.
Poulter, second in The Open at Royal Birkdale in 2008, shot a one under par 69 on Thursday to share the lead with Americans Johnson, Scott Piercy and Russell Henley.
Jason Dufner is level par with Justin Rose one of seven players ready to make a move on Friday from one over par, including Stenson, after an extremely windy opening day.
Stenson lifted the Claret Jug in 2016 while Rose is looking to regain the title he won in 2013, twenty years on from recording a fourth-place finish at The Open in 1998 as a 17-year-old amateur.
A trio of Champion Golfers playing together in the USA found the going tough on day one with Phil Mickelson (+7), Jordan Spieth (+8) and Rory McIlroy (+10) all struggling.
Three-time Champion Golfer of the Year Tiger Woods is level with Spieth having started with a triple bogey as his challenge to regain the title he last won in 2008 faded.
Stenson enjoys tricky weather
Stenson is no stranger to foul weather having won The 145th Open at Royal Troon in similar conditions and is level with Rose two shots off the lead.
The Swede hit a double bogey on the 14th and three further bogeys but rescued his round with five birdies and revealed the conditions brought the best out of him.
He said: “When it's hard, it good for me. Whenever we play courses where the pars are coming hard, then I think that plays to my favour a lot of times.
“I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, and I think I was way, way up there in greens in regulation. So that's certainly going to pay off, even though you still got extremely difficult two-putts.”
Experienced Rose loves testing conditions
Rose turned professional after his stunning performance at Royal Birkdale in 1998 and is looking for his second major title having lifted the US Open in 2013.
A steady round in difficult conditions, Rose struck two birdies and three bogeys but kept himself in contention with an impressive 13 pars for a round of 71.
The 37-year-old needed to use all his experience to put himself amongst the leaders in the second major of the year, admitting afterwards he loved the challenge.
“I enjoy the battle. I enjoy the fight. I enjoy the grind, really. I do enjoy it, especially when you’re on the right side of the fight,” he said.
“There was no let-up out there, and marginal golf shots were getting punished. You have to execute. There’s no faking it around that golf course. The fact that I hit 13 out of 14 fairways made the course playable. At least I had looks at birdies with some decent irons."
“I’m aware of the big picture of this tournament. It was about hanging in there. It is about eliminating a bad round, and I think it’s turned into a really positive start.”
Host of Open Championship winners in contention
The 2015 Champion Golfer of the Year Zach Johnson is well placed after a round of 73 which included two birdies and will restart his tournament at 6.36pm (BST) on Friday.
Fellow Claret Jug winner Louis Oosthuizen, Champion Golfer of the Year in 2010, is a further shot back on +4 and will be looking to make his way up the leaderboard from 6.14pm.
Course record holder at Carnoustie, home of The 147th Open Championship, Tommy Fleetwood sits at +5 after the opening round and gets back underway at 12.40pm.
Thursday is meant to be the windiest of the four days at the second major of the year suggesting the leaderboard could alter significantly on day two.
For more information about The 147th Open Championship including tickets visit: TheOpen.com/Tickets