Woods 'fighting and hanging on' at US Open

There are 'safeguards' in place to prevent controversy this week

From rules gaffes to dead grass to lack of rain or wind, the story surrounding the last four U.S. Opens has been as much about the management of the tournament as it has been the shots by the players in the field.

Thanks to some clutch putting and sound strategy, Woods managed to prevent any of those mistakes from turning into bogeys and finished under par in a round at the U.S. Open for the first time in seven years.

McIlroy, who started his wins at the 2011 US Open, 2012 US PGA Championship, 2014 Open Championship and 2014 US PGA with rounds of 65, 67, 66 and 66 respectively, said he was "really pleased" to open with a 68.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. - Low scores, birdies and eagles typically leave the USGA unhappy at its championship events.

But only 17 players were under par in the first round of 2000.

Playing in his 28th U.S. Open Mickelson has not threatened since his second place finish in 2013.

"It seemed like the majority of the guys were under par through the first seven holes, and then nobody was making hay after that", Woods added.

Fowler said he expected changes to be made, even after the USGA was heavily criticized for letting things get out of hand at Shinnecock Hills past year and at Chambers Bay in 2015.

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In the five previous U.S. Opens staged at Pebble Beach only six times had a golfer come within one of the record, but on Thursday that number was almost matched in a single round with Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele, Aaron Wise and South African Louis Oosthuizen all carding 66s.

Justin Rose closed out his opening round with three straight birdies to lead the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, which was all he could want.

Then past year, a few bad pin placements on the back nine at Shinnecock Hills made the course nearly unplayable on Saturday, when the final 45 players who teed off all failed to break par.

Different history could be made this weekend as Brooks Kopeka tries to win his third-consecutive U.S. Open.

It's also a nice turnaround after he started poorly at the Masters and PGA Championship earlier this season, as well as in the previous three U.S. Opens, when he missed the cut in each. He's two-time U.S. Open victor Ernie Els' nephew. "It's so hard to chase, especially on golf courses that are tough".

"It's benign conditions, very soft for a US Open, so you needed to get out there and shoot something in the 60s".

The American holed six birdies on his way around Pebble Beach, with his only blemish coming on the par four ninth.

Phil Mickelson, who's trying to complete a career Grand Slam, had a round of missed opportunities, which included a lipped-out 1-foot par putt, and finished with a 1-over 72. Thursday is just about getting off to a good start.

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