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Patrick Cantlay shoots 5 under 65 to lead 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst

Patrick Cantlay shoots 5 under 65 to lead 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst

PINEHURST, N.C. – Teeing off at 7:40 a.m. on Thursday from the 10th tee, Patrick Cantlay knew that with the lack of wind and the softest the course may play, these likely were the best conditions he’d see all week at Pinehurst No. 2. The 32-year-old Cantlay took advantage, making six birdies and posting 5-under 65 to grab the early first round lead at the 124th U.S. Open.

“Played pretty solid most of the way. I thought the golf course played pretty difficult. But drove it well. A lot of balls on the fairway. Left the ball in the right spots, for the most part,” Cantlay said.

He got into red figures early by sinking a 35-foot birdie putt at No. 11, but gave a stroke back when he missed the green to the left and failed to get up and down at the par-3 15th. That proved to be his lone bogey of the day and his short game otherwise shined: he was seven of eight in scrambling and topped the field in Strokes Gained: Around the Green.

With a warm sun beating down on his neck, Cantlay rolled in a 17-foot birdie at 18 to get back into red figures and stuck a short iron to five feet at the first for back-to-back birdies. He followed suit with consecutive birdies again at Nos. 5 and 6, the latter thanks to holing a 20-footer. He was happy to see his putter back in his good graces, highlighting a tricky five-foot save at No. 7.

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“Made a bunch of putts inside, eight feet. I think around this golf course, you’re going to leave yourself putts inside eight feet. That four- to eight-foot range. It important that you hole out,” he said. “I did that well today.”

That included at No. 8, where he made his final birdie of the day after sticking his approach from 176 yards to four feet.

“It was a little left of where I was aiming, but that’s why you aim in the right spot,” he said.

Cantlay is making his ninth appearance at the U.S. Open, and recorded his best result in the championship last year, finishing T-13. Ranked ninth in the world, Cantlay is winless in more than a year and is one of four players in the top 10 – along with Viktor Hovland, Ludvig Aberg and Max Homa – seeking that elusive first major. He missed the cut last week at the Memorial, a tournament he has won twice, and has been a non-factor at the first two majors.

“I’ve been working really hard on my game, and usually when you make just a couple changes and you’re working really hard, it’s just a matter of…


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