PINEHURST, N.C. – Kevin Na and Graeme McDowell led early in the 2014 U.S. Open first-round of play, as both carded 2-under par 68’s on the No. 2 course at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club on Thursday.
While Na scored an eagle and three birdies, his three bogeys kept him level with 2010 U.S. Champion McDowell’s eagle-birdie-bogey performance.
“Got off to a great start,” Na said.
“I had an early tee time and I was able to capitalize on a good tee time.
“A long way to go,” he continued.
“Obviously 2-under par right now, but at the end of the tournament, even par is going to win this championship.”
For McDowell, playing in a group with former winners, Webb Simpson (2012) and Rory McIlroy (2011), the key for him was not making mistakes on a course that was moist early on but quickly drying up.
“Yeah, very pleased,” McDowell said of his play.
“You know, this was a golf course where I spent the last few days just preparing myself mentally for the challenge, really, knowing that this golf course wasn’t going to give much and it was only going to take. So I really kind of felt like I got my head in the right place the last few days. It wasn’t my best ball-striking display this morning, but you don’t have to strike it amazing around here, you just have to position the ball correctly at all times.”
As the afternoon groups began to tee it up, six others finished and sat a stroke behind Na and McDowell and included Brandt Snedeker, Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar, Brendon Todd, Jordan Speith, and Hideki Matsuyama.