The first round of the 112th annual US Open was tough on the Danes as only Anders Hansen still remains in contention following poor rounds by Thomas Bjørn and Søren Kjeldsen at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Kjeldsen had a disastrous round in which he failed to make a single par until the ninth hole: a streak that consisted of a triple bogey, two double bogeys and five bogeys. He finished the day second from last of the 156-player field with a 15-over 85.
Denmark’s most experienced golfer, Thomas Bjørn, is likewise close to being out of the running after racking up eight bogeys and no birdies en route to an eight-over 78. He lies in 121st place.
But Denmark’s blushes were spared by Anders Hansen who played a solid first round, shooting one birdie and only three bogeys for a two-over 72. The strong round sees Hansen sit 21st in the field and only three shots off second place.
Hansen will tee off in round two tonight, looking to improve on his best finish at the major (55th in 2007). He is 100/1 to win the tournament (Bet 365). Bjørn’s best finish was 22nd in 2001, while Kjeldsen needs a miracle to equal his personal best of 33rd in 2010.
While Kjeldsen can start packing his bags now, it will be an uphill struggle for Bjørn to make the cut for the final two rounds. The US Open rules stipulate that all golfers in the top 60 including ties make it, plus any golfer within ten strokes of the lead.
American Michael Thompson played a brilliant round of 66, featuring three bogeys but a staggering seven birdies, to help him top the leaderboard, three strokes ahead of three players, one of whom is Tiger Woods.
Nevertheless, Kjeldsen’s opening round is still a long way short of being one of the worst of all time.
Billy Casper memorably shot a 34-over 106 in the first round of the Masters in 2005.
And British golfer Maurice Flitcroft fraudulently entered the British Open as a professional in 1976, going on to shoot a 49-over round of 121. When British media asked his mother what she thought about her son shooting the highest ever round in the event, she replied: “Does that mean he's won?”