Toss that card
Bubba Watson: The Masters champ and No. 3-rated player in the world played Army golf — left, right, left, right — on his way to a 6-over 76. Watson played the front nine in 3 over, then took a double-bogey 7 on the par-5 10th hole. He made just one birdie. “The golf course is better than me right now,” Watson said.
Keep that card
Fran Quinn: The 49-year-old journeyman, who last played in a U.S. Open when Tiger Woods was still an amateur, sits three off the lead after a 2-under 68. With his 15-year-old son on the bag, Quinn carded four birdies and two bogeys. Quinn had planned to play in the Massachusetts State Open this weekend before making it to Pinehurst out of sectional qualifying.
On the course with
Aaron Baddeley: How to recover 101: Baddeley began his day with a triple-bogey 7 on the short opening hole. But a 60-foot birdie putt on the 10th kick-started a 3-under on the back nine to finish at even par.
U.S. Open moment
Without a doubt the most popular spot at Pinehurst No. 2 off the course this week is the bronze Payne Stewart statue behind the 18th green. Stewart’s daughter, Chelsea, posed next to the statue while in town to accept an award on her late father’s behalf. She struck the same iconic fist-pump celebration moment from Payne’s 1999 U.S. Open victory. Photos of the moment lit up Twitter.
• Speaking of Stewart, Rickie Fowler earned plenty of praise for his outfit of choice in Round 1: white and blue plus-four knickers and knee-high argyle socks. “Cool to be in the position I’m in to wear some attire like [Stewart] used to wear, to give tribute to him,” said Fowler, who will go back to slacks for the rest of the tournament.
• Brandt Snedeker took the unusual step of switching putters ahead of a major championship, especially after using only three different ones “since I can remember.” But after slipping from second to 79th in putting on the PGA Tour he decided it was time for a change. It worked. He made six birdies.
• The top 16 players on the leaderboard represent seven different countries: Germany, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Sweden, Japan, Wales and the United States.
• Fourteen players finished with rounds in the 60s — meaning there were more Round 1 scores under par than last year at Merion (five) and at Olympic Club in 2012 (six) combined.
576-yard, par-5 fifth: The adventure begins with a dogleg left, slanted fairway leading to a trademark Donald Ross-designed turtleback green. Said Henrik Stenson: “If you guys want to see some disasters, you should get a hot dog, Snickers and Coke and head down to 5 green.”
Quote of the day
“It’s the best setup I think I’ve ever played. If you hit the ball in there, you can attack.”
— Martin Kaymer, who said earlier in the week that 8 over would be a good finishing score at Pinehurst No. 2.