PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – U.S. Open organizers were preparing for the likelihood of late afternoon thunderstorms as the opening round of the year’s second major began under cloudy skies at Pinehurst Resort on Thursday.
Little-known American Daniel Berger struck the first shot on the par-four opening hole while Swede Henrik Norlander began proceedings at the par-five 10th to launch the third U.S. Open to be played on Pinehurst’s fabled No. 2 Course.
PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Homesick for the European lifestyle, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts has mainly struggled on the PGA Tour this season but hopes that his love of the U.S. Open can help reignite his game this week at Pinehurst.
The 31-year-old, who is nicknamed the ‘Belgian Bomber’ because of his prodigious length off the tee, has recorded only one top-25 in 11 starts on the 2013-14 PGA Tour, yet feels his style of play is ideally suited to Pinehurst’s No. 2 Course.
PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Pinehurst’s No. 2 Course is an aesthetic delight for this week’s U.S. Open after its recent ‘old school’ restoration but its notorious turtle-back greens will continue to frustrate the players.
While the par-70 layout has been creatively restored to the initial specifications of its Scotland-born designer Donald Ross, recapturing its look from the 1930s and 1940s, approach shots will be as daunting as ever due to the domed greens.
PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Having regained his love of golf after enduring a turbulent 2013 campaign on and off the course, Rory McIlroy has set his sights on winning at least two of the last three majors this year.
The Northern Irishman is in good form heading into this week’s U.S. Open, buoyed by his victory in the European Tour’s flagship BMW Championship last month, and hopes he can also take advantage of a few tips given to him by Jack Nicklaus.
PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Adam Scott has been a perennial contender in major championships over the past three years but, for reasons which he finds difficult to explain, he has mainly struggled at the U.S. Open.
One of the best ball-strikers in the game and blessed with a swing envied by many of his peers, Scott has all the credentials to shine in the year’s second major which traditionally puts a premium on ‘percentage’ golf.
PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Often guilty in the past of being too hard on himself when things are not going well on the golf course, Masters champion Bubba Watson is reaping the benefits of a ‘big picture’ approach to his game.
By focusing on all the positives in his life and ‘rejoicing’ in his many family blessings, the American left-hander has produced the most consistent PGA Tour season of his career, highlighted by two victories and two runner-up spots.
PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Returning to Pinehurst’s No. 2 Course for this week’s U.S. Open could hardly be more poignant for Phil Mickelson who was a runner-up when the year’s second major was first played at Pinehurst in 1999.
Not only has the American left-hander gone on to finish second in the tournament a further five times, he has yet to win his national championship, leaving him one shy in his long cherished bid to complete a rare grand slam of the four majors.
PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Missing the cut in his last PGA Tour start could be a blessing in disguise, says Justin Rose, who will be bidding this week to become the U.S. Open’s first back-to-back winner in 25 years.
Rose failed to qualify for the last two rounds at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago, and that gave him the chance to spend three days of early preparation for the year’s second major in relative quiet on Pinehurst’s No. 2 Course.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Los Angeles Kings moved one step closer to a second Stanley Cup title in three years after mounting a stunning fightback to beat the New York Rangers 5-4 in double overtime and end a wild Game Two on Saturday.
With the Kings trailing 2-0 and 4-2 before tying things up, captain Dustin Brown deflected a long-range shot by Willie Mitchell into the net for the game-winning goal about 10 minutes into the second extra period at a jubilant Staples Center.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The New York Rangers, who can claim to be this season’s team of destiny, will seek further emotional inspiration from Dominic Moore and Martin St. Louis as they vie with the Los Angeles Kings for the Stanley Cup.
Back in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in two decades after Moore and St. Louis rebounded from personal grief to join their team mates on a championship crusade, the Rangers trail the Kings 0-1 in the best-of-seven series.