McIlroy, Spieth lead young gun U.S. Open challenge

Thu Jun 11, 2015 3:45pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - As golf's best players converge on Chambers Bay in the Pacific Northwest for next week's U.S. Open, much of the focus will be firmly fixed on the young guns who are likely to dominate in the majors for the foreseeable future.

Masters champion Jordan Spieth and world number one Rory McIlroy, a four-times major winner, are top of that class but in hot pursuit are the likes of Australian Jason Day, American Rickie Fowler and rising Japanese talent Hideki Matsuyama.

"The amazing thing about this group of players is that we've come on tour and we've been ready to win from the start," said McIlroy, a 26-year-old from Northern Ireland.

"Jordan wins his first major at 21. Rickie got his first (PGA Tour) win (at the 2012 Well Fargo Championship) but he really elevated his status with that win (at last month's Players Championship).

"A lot of guys have come out here and it hasn't taken them long how to learn how to win. We don't play maybe with as much fear as some of the rookies used to in the past."

American Spieth was proof of that at the Masters in April when, aged just 21, he claimed his first major title with a record-equaling display at Augusta National.

Brilliant putting, ice-cool composure, careful decision making and the occasional dose of good fortune helped him open with an eight-under 64 and he never relinquished control of the tournament as he completed a wire-to-wire victory by four shots.


Jun 4, 2015; Dublin, OH, USA; Jordan Spieth takes a shot from the bunker at the thirteenth hole during the first round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports