While established players like Phil Mickelson struggle at the 2011 U.S. Open, former major champions, upstarts, and marginal players are ruling the day at Congressional Golf Club. The torrid starts of Francesco Molinari and Rory Sabbatini are just the latest bit of evidence that the wide-open Open field might make for an unexpected champion.
Molinari and Sabbatini both raced out to 3-under starts in their late afternoon front nines: Molinari was 3-under after four holes, but has since fallen back to 2-under after a bogey on the seventh; Sabbatini, who began his first round on the back nine, made birdie on the 12th, 13th, and 14th, and remains at 3-under through five holes.
Neither Molinari nor Sabbatini has a major title, though Sabbatini came close, tying for second at the 2007 Masters. But good starts at the grueling Congressional course make the chances that one of the two will break through this week that much better.