ERIN, Wis. (AP) - Erin Hills was kind to Rickie Fowler and rough on several others during the first round of the U.S. Open.
Fowler is atop the leaderboard following a 7-under 65 that included seven birdies and no bogeys. He birdied three straight holes while making the turn and tied the record for the lowest score in relation to par for a first round of a U.S. Open. Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf each shot 7-under 63s at Baltusrol in 1980.
Fowler finds himself one shot ahead of Paul Casey and Xander Schauffele. Brian Harman, Brooks Koepka (KEHP'-kuh) and Tommy Fleetwood are at 5-under.
Seventeen players shot 3 under or better, suggesting that the 11-year-old course was kind to the field. But Erin Hills ate up Jason Day, who had a pair of triple-bogeys in a 7-over 79. Rory McIlroy signed for a 78 after joking that anyone who couldn't hit such wide fairways should pack their bags and go home.
Ernie Els opened with a 70 on the 20th anniversary of his last US Open victory.
Defending champ Dustin Johnson shot a 75 that included just one birdie.
Phil Mickelson had to withdraw from the event after realizing he wouldn't arrive on time. Mickelson attended his daughter's high school graduation in California this morning and had hoped the tournament might go in a weather delay with rain in the forecast. However, the weather did not cooperate.
Many golfers were stunned to see a small blimp crash near the tournament. Jamie Lovemark said he was teeing off when he looked up and saw the blimp on fire. Lovemark said he had the shakes and felt sick to his stomach.
A National Transportation Safety board official said the pilot had some burns and was in stable condition. Sheriff's officials said the pilot was the only one on board.