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Rickie Fowler grabs early lead at US Open

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US golfer Rickie Fowler got off to a blistering start on Thursday at the US Open, firing a seven-under 65 that tied a record for the lowest opening-round score in relation to par at that major championship. The 28-year-old from Murrieta, California, carded seven birdies to lead by one stroke at the end of the first round. Englishman Paul Casey and Xander Schauffele of the US shared the second spot.

One shot behind the pair were Brian Harman and Brooks Koepka of the US and England's Tommy Fleetwood.

World No.9 Fowler wasted no time playing attacking golf at the Erin Hills course, carding birdies on the par-five first hole and the par-four second and then notching a third birdie on the par-five seventh to move to three-under at the turn, reports Efe.

Fowler was even better on the back nine, as he not only notched two more birdies on the par-fives but also birdied the par-four 11th and 12th holes.

The ninth-ranked American said he had enjoyed a "simple day" but added that he expected the others would be more difficult.

"You don't get many rounds at the US Open that are stress-free," Fowler said.

Two other golfers have shot an opening-round seven-under at the US Open -- Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf, both of whom fired a 63 in the 1980 edition of the tournament, which was played at the Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey.

Fowler has posted top-10 finishes at major championships on six occasions -- most recently in 2014 -- but is still seeking his first title at one of golf's biggest events.

But he was far from being the only player to post a low score on Thursday. More than 40 other players also are under par. But defending champion and World No.1 Dustin Johnson of the United States struggled in his opening round and is 10 shots behind Fowler after shooting a three-over 75.

US Open 2011 champion and World No.2 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland went through a horrific round of six-over 78 to be tied 143rd, while Jason Day of Australia posted 79.

Day told the tournament's website: "I just played bad golf, man (laughing). I can't put it any other way other than just -- there was some good stuff mixed in with a lot of poor stuff. Two triple (bogeys), I don't know. It's weird. You sit there and it's not like I gave up. I actually gave it 100 per cent all the way through the end and I shot 79.