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Aberg grabs early lead with Tiger one back at US Open

AFP
Friday, Jun 14, 2024

PINEHURST: Tiger Woods was among a host of contenders chasing sixth-ranked Ludvig Aberg, who grabbed the early US Open lead with two morning birdies on Thursday at Pinehurst.

Sweden´s Aberg, runner-up at April´s Masters in his major debut, began on the back nine and birdied the par-4 11th and 12th holes to move atop the leaderboard. Aberg sank birdie putts from just inside 19 feet at 11 and from 32 feet at 12 to jump into the lead.

Woods, a 15-time major winner struggling to overcome severe leg injuries from a 2021 car crash, started on the back nine with a birdie at the par-5 10th, sinking a putt from just inside 12 feet.

Woods added a 10-foot par putt at the 12th and another from just inside nine feet at 13 to stay in a pack at 1-under, but missed an 11-foot birdie putt at 14 to grab a share of the lead.

Also charging early was Logan McAllister, a 24-year-old American who began in the first group. He made an eagle at the par-5 fifth to seize the lead briefly, only to fall back with a bogey at the eighth.

World number 459 McAllister, who missed the cut in his only PGA Tour start at the 2022 Texas Open, reached the green in two from dirt left of the fifth fairway, then sank a seven-foot eagle putt.

Others on 1-under early included ninth-ranked Patrick Cantlay, fellow American Tony Finau, Sweden´s Tim Widing and South African Casey Jarvis. The formidable 7,543-yard sandhills layout tested players with lightning-fast elevated domed greens, sandy waste areas and native wiregrass.

Among 468 players in three prior US Opens at Pinehurst, only four broke par for 72 holes and just one, 2014 champion Martin Kaymer of Germany, finished better than one-under, winning by eight strokes on nine-under.