Murakami fights on despite opening 79
Asian Tour stalwart Artemio Murakami was battered but unbowed after shooting an eight-over-par 79 in the first round of the US Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Filipino marked his major debut with two birdies against eight bogeys and one double bogey as he ended the first day in tied 125th place.
It was a tough start for Murakami but he held his head high as the challenging Torrey Pines course claimed big-name victims including defending champion Angel Cabrera, reigning European number one Justin Rose and Ryder Cup stars Paul Casey and Colin Montgomerie, who also stumbled to 79s.
“Overall, I am a bit disappointed with the score. I was hitting it quite solid and when I had chances for birdies, I didn’t make many,” said Murakami, who qualified for the US Open by topping the sectional qualifying in Japan last month.
Starting from the 10th, Murakami, who played with joint first round leader Kevin Streelman, held his game steadily on his outward journey, turning in two over with three bogeys and one birdie.
The Filipino said a three-putt bogey on the 18th hole took away any momentum that he was hoping to build upon.
“I hit it to within 10 to 15 feet from the 14th to 17th holes for birdie putts but didn’t make any and it was really disappointing to bogey the 18th hole from the fringe with a three putt. If I had parred that, it could have been a different story. I’m not disappointed with the way I’m hitting it as I’m hitting quite solid.
“On the back nine, I missed a few shots and there were some tough holes out there. I had four bogeys in a row but I managed to birdie my last which was a good way to finish and take something positive into tomorrow,” he said.
Murakami is not giving up hope of making the halfway cut but reckons he needs at least an under par round to get through. The top-60 players and ties, plus those within 10 shots off the lead will qualify for the weekend rounds.
“Tomorrow, I still want to enjoy my second round in the major. If I can shoot under par, that would be the goal. If I can do that, it may give me a chance to make the cut. I’m still fighting, I’m not going up. The cut could be seven or eight over tomorrow, so there is still a small chance,” he said.
Asian Tour honorary member Vijay Singh of Fiji carded an even par 71 to lie three off the lead.
June 13, 2008