SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Scott Gregory discovered a doubtful technique to enter U.S. Open lore on Thursday, changing into the first participant in 16 years to shoot 90 or above throughout the first round of the event.
Gregory, 23, from Portsmouth, England, shot 92 at Shinnecock Hills, with two triple-bogeys, three double-bogeys, 10 bogeys and simply three pars. He grew to become the first participant to shoot 90 or above since Felix Casas shot 92 throughout the second round of the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage.
A second-year professional who in 2016 received the Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl in Wales, Gregory was pragmatic about his tough day. “Before I hit it, I knew it was going to be difficult,” said Gregory, who last week qualified for the U.S. Open at the sectional at Walton Heath in England, shooting scores of 67-69. “I did not get it in play off the tee, which is clearly an enormous challenge round right here. Any tough you go in, you’ll be able to’t actually connect pins and get on the greens.
“I knew it was going to be powerful. It was wind, and I’ve performed in wind earlier than, in order that wasn’t the challenge. The challenge was I did not hit it on the brief stuff very a lot.”
Gregory hit simply 5 of 15 fairways and solely 4 of 18 greens. The wind, which got here from a special route than the gamers, induced suits, as did the general problem of the course. There have been already a number of scores in the 80s as the first round continued. It was the first time in the 4 trendy U.S. Opens at Shinnecock Hills participant shot in the 90s.
He mentioned he couldn’t bear in mind the final time he had failed to interrupt 90.
“It would have needed to have been eight years in the past or extra,” he mentioned. “It’s been a very long time, and this isn’t actually the week I wished to revisit that score.
“My objective, actually, was to hit it in the center of the inexperienced on each gap,” Gregory mentioned. “You cannot miss, brief, lengthy, left or proper. You hit it in the center, and also you’re all proper. Every time, I used to be attempting to get it in the fairway and did not try this. Then chip out and get it on the inexperienced. You’ve acquired to play smart. The man who’s going to win this week goes to hit a whole lot of fairways and hit in the center of greens. You’re simply not going to have the ability to hit it shut fairly often.”
Gregory performed in three main championships in 2017 resulting from his Amateur title and in addition acquired an invite to the Memorial Tournament. This yr, he has not certified for any tour, managing to get into 4 Challenge Tour occasions — the European Tour’s developmental tour — making only one minimize.
His spotlight for the week is simple. On Wednesday, whereas hitting balls on the driving vary, he managed to get a photograph with Tiger Woods.
“I have been ready for that image for about 15 years,” he mentioned. “It was nice to lastly meet him. I feel everybody in the world is glad to see him again. It’s bizarre, you’ll be able to really feel when he’s about. If you are on the placing inexperienced and you have not seen him, you’ll be able to nonetheless hear that he is round.”
Gregory mentioned he already has the photograph framed and posted in his locker — the place he is unlikely to be posting the scorecard from Thursday.
“I am going to neglect about it rapidly,” he mentioned.
It was simply the third score in the 90s at a U.S. Open since 1990.