Y.E. Yang hasn't done much on the PGA Tour since his titanic upset of Tiger Woods at the 2009 PGA Championship. If Yang plays his next three rounds at the 2011 U.S. Open like he did his first at Congressional Golf Club in Maryland, that could change in a hurry.
Yang fired a 3-under 68 to head into the clubhouse with the lead early in the first day of the 2011 U.S. Open, and to tie Ryan Palmer, still on the course at 3-under through 15 holes, for the tournament's overall lead. Yang's first round took some late rallying, too: he closed with two birdies in his last four holes, recovering from an even-par back nine with three birdies and no bogeys on the front nine.
Yang's won just once since the 2009 PGA Championship, at the European Tour's 2010 Volvo China Open, and he's missed the cut at two of his five majors since, including the 2010 U.S. Open.
Yang's also not the only recent major winner with a tidy first round on Thursday. 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen is one shot back of Yang and Palmer after his 2-under 69, and 2009 British Open champion and defending U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell both shot 1-under 70s at Congressional.