PEBBLE BEACH — The iconic 18th hole at Pebble Beach has seen its share of memorable moments through the years, from Jack Nicklaus congratulating Tom Watson as he walked off the green after winning the 1982 U.S. Open, to John Daly making a 14 there and withdrawing in the opening round in 2000.
Then there was Lucas Bjerregaard during Thursday’s opening round of the U.S. Open.
The 27-year-old Dane was three over through his first eight holes when he stepped to the tee on the 552-yard par 5 and proceeded to hit not one but two tee shots left into Stillwater Cove.
His next drive? That one sailed right and out of bounds.
Bjerregaard then switched to 3-wood and, with his seventh shot, finally found dry land, his ball landing in the fairway and settling near the Cypress tree that stands guard there.
He’d seen enough by then, though. Bjerregaard hurled his driver over the cliff and into the water. He went on to take two more shots followed by a two-putt for an 11.
“It’s tough,” he said afterward. “It kind of ruins it all for me.”
Bjerregaard comported himself well the rest of the day, playing his final nine holes in even par, with one birdie and one bogey, before signing for an 80.
As bad as the hole was, it’s not the highest single-hole score in U.S. Open history. That dubious distinction belongs to Ray Ainsley, who made a 19 on the par-4 16th at Cherry Hills in 1938.
“It’s a course where you have to limit your mistakes,” Bjerregaard said. “You can’t afford to be making 11s.”