Inspired by Fowler, Casey revels in fun round at Erin Hills
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[June 16, 2017]
By Larry Fine
ERIN, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Inspired by
watching Rickie Fowler on TV tear up rain-softened Erin Hills in
Thursday's morning wave, England's Paul Casey went out and fired an
opening round six-under 66 to trail the American by one.
"I'm a Rickie Fowler fan, and the golf he produced this morning was
beautiful," Casey told reporters.
"I was hoping and praying if I could get the same kind of
conditions, and hoping and praying I would be half as good as Rickie
Fowler. So to be right behind him, I'm ecstatic."
Casey was joined at 66 by 23-year-old American Xander Schauffele.
One shot behind them were England's Tommy Fleetwood and Americans
Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman.
The Englishman said watching Fowler take apart the 7,845-yard
links-style layout helped him read some of the putts, capitalize on
hole locations and confirm the game plan he already had set up with
"I'd like to think we learned a little bit and thank him for that
Casey started his afternoon round with a bang, eagling the par-five
first hole and adding a birdie at the second.
He made the turn at four-under 32 and ended the round with a
flourish with a birdie at the par-five last.
"It was just a really fun round," said Casey, who said he was far
from perfect and made errors. "I don't know that I've ever played a
U.S. Open where I've had that much enjoyment."
[to top of second column]
Casey waves to the crowd after his birdie putt on the 18th green
during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Erin
Hills. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
"I prefer a golf course where we can make some
birdies, for sure," Casey added after a record-setting first round
that featured 44 scores under par, shattering the previous record
"We're all interested to see where the pin positions are going to be
tomorrow and if there's a knee jerk reaction."
Casey said conditions could also be radically different for the
"Just because we had the deluge yesterday and the days leading into
this, it's pretty benign and receptive," he said. "It's not going to
last. If the sun shines and the wind blows, it's going to dry out.
It will be treacherous."
(Editing by Rory Carroll)
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