Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele tie majors record with first-day 62s at U.S. Open

Co-leader Rickie Fowler hits out of the sandy rough on the ninth hole at the Los Angeles Country Club.
Co-leader Rickie Fowler hits out of the sandy rough on the ninth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club on Thursday. He finished with an eight-under-par 62.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Sunshine and celebrities accompany L.A sports spectacles. Attending the Rose Bowl under blue skies, watching the Dodgers in shirt sleeves on a summer evening, rooting for the Lakers along with actors and entertainers. Those images endure and recur.

The first day of the U.S. Open at L.A. Country Club offered neither. It drizzled in the morning and remained overcast. Celebrities are famously unwelcome at LACC, and none were prominent Thursday even as paying customers.

Instead, the U.S. Open provided record golf. Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele both shot morning rounds of 62, tying the mark for low round in a major with Branden Grace of South Africa, who shot a 62 at the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

Xander Schauffele watches his tee shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday.
(Marcio J. Sanchez / Associated Press)

In addition, Fowler and Schauffele broke the record for lowest round at a U.S. Open that had stood for 50 years — Johnny Miller’s 63 at Oakmont in 1973. LACC, like Royal Birkdale, is a par 70; Oakmont is a par 71.

Golfers were nearly unanimous in their praise and expectation of difficulty during practice rounds at the LACC North Course, but Fowler and Schauffele slayed it, holding a five-stroke lead over a cluster of golfers at three under as the afternoon groups teed off.

Dustin Johnson, Wyndham Clark and Rory McIlroy made serious attempts at joining the record-breakers as evening fell, but difficulties at the end of the round kept Johnson and Clark at six-under with a 64 and McIlroy at five-under with a 65. Brian Harman was also at five under.

Still, the course was conquered surprisingly easily, at least for one day.

“The sun didn’t come out and it was misting this morning, so I’d say the greens held a little bit more moisture than anticipated for myself at least,” Schauffele said. “It made the greens sort of that much more of a hole-able speed, and then coming into greens you’re able to pull some wedges back.”


Schauffele’s group teed off 22 minutes after Fowler’s group, and both began with the back nine.

“Got off to a nice start making three on No. 10 and just never really thought about a score or necessarily what I was trying to do out there,” Fowler said.

Here’s a closeup look at all 18 holes of the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club, the site of the 2023 U.S. Open, which begins Thursday.

June 11, 2023

Fowler, from Murrieta, and Schauffele, from San Diego, have never won a major. Fowler led the 2017 U.S. open at Erin Hills after a first-round 65 but finished tied for fifth. Schauffele is the only player to finish in the top 20 of the last five majors, and a tie for 10th at the Masters two months ago was his best.

A key for Fowler was leading the field with 4.73 strokes gained putting. His game on the greens has improved significantly since changing to a putter used by his caddie, Ricky Romano, early this year.

“This week is off to a good start, but there’s still plenty of golf to be played,” Fowler said. “It’s going to be tough tomorrow afternoon. But at least I got out of the gate and we’re off to, like I said, a good start.”

Schauffele was equally subdued about the significance of tying the record. After all, Grace set the record in the third round of the Open yet finished tied for sixth, eight strokes behind winner Jordan Spieth. Oddly, 38 rounds of 63 have been recorded in majors.


“I mean, I don’t know ... it’s literally just the first day of a tournament,” Schauffele said. “I’m anticipating the sun to come out just as much as every West Coast person out here. I’m thinking the course is going to firm up a little bit.”

Matthieu Pavon and Sam Burns shot holes-in-one on the three-par No. 15, putting spin on wedge shots from 124 yards that hit the tiny, peninsula-shaped green long and curled back into the cup. Pavon doffed his cap and thrust his arms skyward. Burns tossed his club in the air.