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U.S. Open 2019: Arnold Palmer’s grandson tees off first with Rory McIlroy set to start early

first_imgA grandson of 1960 U.S. Open champion Arnold Palmer was given the honor of playing the opening tee shot at the first hole. Sam Saunders, a 31-year-old professional who is in the field after battling through qualifying in Columbus, Ohio, said in the build-up to the tournament he was “incredibly flattered” to be asked. Palmer, one of golf’s all-time greats, died in 2016.Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, will have the honor of hitting the opening tee shot of the 119th #USOpen: https://t.co/lroYidZaEg pic.twitter.com/3w9r0PBBtg— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 13, 2019McIlroy was due off at 7:51 a.m. PT, looking to end his major championship title drought which stretches back to 2014, when he won both the British Open and the PGA Championship. He arrived at Pebble Beach buoyed by winning the Canadian Open in style last weekend courtesy of a final-round 61. Among the afternoon starters was Brooks Koepka, seeking a third successive U.S. Open triumph. He won at Erin Hills in 2017 and Shinnecock Hills last year, and was due to begin his latest challenge at 1:47 p.m. local time in the company of Norwegian debutant Viktor Hovland and Italian Francesco Molinari.Masters champion Tiger Woods was due out after Koepka, at 2:09 p.m., playing in the headline group of the day with Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose. U.S. Open 2019: How Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, others will attack Pebble Beach The 119th U.S. Open got under way at Pebble Beach on Thursday and Rory McIlroy was aiming to make an early impact.Action at the California course began at 6:45 a.m. local time (9:45 a.m. ET), with players starting in groups of three from both the first and 10th tees.center_img U.S. Open 2019: Three under-the-radar players to watch Related Newslast_img read more