Tiger Woods finished in the black and Phil Mickelson ended up even, but former Blue Devil Kevin Streelman–who?–closed the first day of the U.S. Open atop the leaderboard. Streelman, who graduated from Duke in 2001, fired a 68 to share the lead with Justin Hicks. Through four holes Thursday, Streelman was 3-under, and he maintained the pace the rest of the day, bogeying his last hole (No. 9) to drop into a tie for first.
Streelman is familiar with Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. Earlier this year, Streelman played in the final group on Saturday of the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines with Tiger Woods, but he ultimately faltered and finished tied for 29th. Unlike Tiger and Phil, who played with Adam Scott in a marquee threesome, Streelman is No. 608 in the world and has made nine of 16 cuts after earning his PGA Tour card in December.
Which all raises the question: who is Kevin Streelman? Nick Canepa explored the question in a January column in the San Diego Union-Tribune, and Eli Saslow wrote a nice profile of Streelman in the Washington Post last June.
Joe Ogilvie, another former Blue Devil, shot an even-par 71 to round out the first day in a tie for 12th, while Duke senior Michael Quagliano, who made the field through sectional qualifying, posted a 15-over 86. The amateur sits in last place.
Check back Friday and over the weekend to track the Blue Devils’ progress and see if Streelman can stay hot enough to ward off the world’s best players in what might be the most grueling major.
–by Ben Cohen