The Latest: Fowler finishes off 7-under 65 - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

The Latest: Fowler finishes off 7-under 65

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ERIN, Wis. (AP) -- The Latest on the U.S. Open (all times local):


1:06 p.m.
Rickie Fowler is off to a great start in pursuit of his first major title.

The 28-year-old Fowler closed out a 7-under 65 with par on the tricky No. 9 at Erin Hills, playing at just 150 yards but with plenty of trouble lurking around the green. Brian Harman and Tommy Fleetwood each had a 67, and Brooks Koepka also is tied for second at 5 under.
 

Fowler had seven birdies and no bogeys.


Ernie Els and Patrick Reed are tied for fifth at 4 under.

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12:44 p.m.
An official with the company operating an advertising blimp at the U.S. Open says the pilot is "OK" after the craft crashed, but he is being taken to a hospital.

Justin Maynard, a sales manager for Florida-based AirSign, says the company's operations team on the ground reported on the pilot's status.

He says he has no additional information on the crash that happened during the tournament's opening round.

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12:31 p.m.

 A blimp has crashed about a half mile from Erin Hills, and the USGA says the pilot is being treated for "unknown injuries." No other people were involved, and authorities are investigating.

 A sales manager for AirSign, the advertising company that operates the blimp, says the pilot was the only person on board the craft.

Several fans attending the U.S. Open posted video online of the blimp going down.
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12 p.m.
It looks as if the first day of the U.S. Open will be a dry one. But the forecast for the weekend is more tentative.

There is at least a 40 percent chance of showers each of the next two days, according to Thor Guard Chief Meteorologist Jake Swick. The strongest wind of the weekend is expected on Sunday.

Helped by the dry weather, the USGA says the entire course was mowed Wednesday night. The greens at Erin Hills were double cut and rolled Thursday morning.

The course is playing at 7,845 yards for the first day.
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11:13 a.m.
Twenty years after he won his second U.S. Open, Ernie Els is getting in the mix again.

The Big Easy played his front nine at Erin Hills at 4-under 32 and is only two shots behind Rickie Fowler. Els' highlight shot came on the par-3 ninth where he landed his tee shot about 6 feet from the hole. He made the birdie.

The 47-year-old South African has struggled this year; he hasn't finished better than 35th.

The timing could be perfect. The five-year exemption he received for winning the 2012 British Open runs out after this year.
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11 a.m.
Rickie Fowler is making Erin Hills look like something other than a brutal U.S. Open course.

Dustin Johnson is making it look every bit as tough as advertised.


Fowler has made six birdies through his first 11 holes to take the lead at 6-under par.

Johnson has spent lots of time in the knee-high fescue. He hasn't made the turn but is already nine shots behind the leader.

The defending champion hacked out of the tall grass on 14 en route to a double-bogey, then had to step into it twice on 17, but managed to save bogey there. He is 3-over par.

Fowler is one shot in front of Tommy Fleetwood, with Brian Harman and J.B. Holmes another shot back at 3 under.
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Nine holes into their rounds, Rickie Fowler and Brian Harman share the lead at the U.S. Open.

Both have made four birdies and no bogeys, and played the back nine at Erin Hills in 4-under 32.

Harman birdied both par-3s on the back nine. Both he and Fowler made birdies on the 637-yard par-5 18th, which is playing downwind. Early on, No. 18 had surrendered 11 birdies and was playing as the easiest hole on the course.

Charley Hoffman and J.B. Holmes are in a group of four at 3 under.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson, starting on the back nine, made double-bogey on 14 and followed with a bogey on 15 to fall to 3 over.

Jordan Spieth is 1 under after his first six holes.
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10:15 a.m.

Dustin Johnson found the fescue at Erin Hills. It did not end well.

The defending U.S. Open champion made double-bogey on the par-5 14th after pulling his second shot into the knee-high grass off the fairway. His third shot hooked into gnarly rough in an awkward stance above a bunker. He hit that shot onto the green, but needed three putts to get down.

The double put Johnson at 2-over par for the day, five holes into his round.

Brian Harman played his first nine holes in 4-under 32 to take the lead.

One shot behind are Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka and Charley Hoffman.

It's shaping up as a sweltering day on this course, located about 40 miles from Milwaukee. Temperatures are expected in the high 80s with little chance of rain.

Knowing a weather delay was unlikely, Phil Mickelson officially withdrew. He'll be attending his daughter's graduation in California and can't make it back for his 2:20 p.m. tee time.
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9:45 a.m.

Hideki Matsuyama produced some early magic at Erin Hills, holing out from the fairway on the par-4 15th for the first eagle of the U.S. Open.

It took him to 1-under par after his first six holes -- two shots off the lead.

Matsuyama was in the center of the fairway, 103 yards from the cup, when he made his eagle.

Brian Harman made birdies on both the par-3s on the back nine to get to 3 under, and shares the lead with Rickie Fowler.

There's a group of six, including Whee Kim and Talor Gooch, at 2 under.
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9:20 a.m.
Early on, Erin Hills is giving Jon Rahm fits.

The Spaniard, 10th in the World Golf Ranking and a popular pick at the U.S. Open, is 3-over par through his first five holes and has yet to hit a green in regulation.

He's in a group with Rickie Fowler, who has made three birdies and is in the lead at 3 under.

On the par-5 14th hole, Rahm hit his drive into the knee-deep fescue, punched out and hit his third shot from 220 yards. It hit the green, but spun backward into the first cut of rough, and Rahm made his third bogey of the day.

Talor Gooch, Thomas Aiken and Tommy Fleetwood are all at 2 under early in their rounds -- one shot behind Fowler.
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8:50 a.m.
Dustin Johnson is on the course at Erin Hills to start the defense of his U.S. Open title.

He opened with a tricky par save on the par-4 10th hole, getting up and down from a sliver of tangled rough after he hit his approach past the green.

He is playing with the 2014 and 2015 titlists, Martin Kaymer and Jordan Spieth. Kaymer opened with birdie and Spieth made par.

Johnson is trying to become the first player to go back-to-back at the U.S. Open since Curtis Strange in 1988-89.

Rickie Fowler is among a group of five players sharing the early lead at 2 under. Talor Gooch got to 3 under but bogeyed the par-5 seventh to fall back into the tie.
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7:45 a.m.
Phil Mickelson was a long shot to play in this U.S. Open, and the odds got even longer with a forecast of no chance of rain Thursday.

He notified the USGA a little after 7 a.m. that he was withdrawing. Mickelson was replaced by Roberto Diaz of Mexico.

Lefty already had missed the U.S. Open in 1993 when he lost in playoff at sectional qualifying. He missed the Masters in 1994 while recovering from a broken leg suffered in a skiing accident. And he most recently missed the British Open in 2009 to be with his wife as she was starting treatment for breast cancer.

This also is the first major without Mickelson or Tiger Woods since the 1994 Masters.

Mickelson was out with a broken leg. Woods was in high school.
 

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