Justin Rose

Just who are these guys at the top of the US Open leaderboard?

David Lingmerth


That’s the world ranking of the 5-foot-7-inch, 34-year-old Swede, who has one PGA Tour victory on his rèsumè — seven years ago at the Memorial, when he beat Justin Rose in a playoff.

He’s had no other top-10 finishes but maybe his perch is not so flukish.

This is his fourth US Open and he has not finished worse than tied for 21st, back in 2017. He finished 12th in 2016, and tied for 17th in 2013.

He’s been absent from the majors since 2018, partly because of a fractured left knee, sustained in a pick-up hockey game.

David Lingmerth looks on from the seventh fairway during Thursday's first-round action at The Country Club.David Lingmerth looks on from the seventh fairway during Thursday’s first-round action at The Country Club.Ross Kinnaird/Getty

After Lingmerth won the Memorial in 2015, he provided his father back in Sweden a thrill by having Jack Nicklaus FaceTime him.

If the name of his uncle, Goran Lingmerth, rings a bell, your NFL fan credentials are top-shelf. That Lingmerth — 5-8 — played one game, as a kicker, for the Cleveland Browns in 1987.

Lingmerth, an alternate for the US Open, did not find out he would be playing here this week until Saturday afternoon, when Martin Kaymer’s withdrawal opened up a spot for him.

“What can I say?” said Lingmerth at the end of his day. “I don’t know. Got off to one of those starts, I guess, where I was just trying to take care of the golf ball.”

Callum Tarren

Having missed the cut in last week’s RBC Canadian Open and with a 71.6 scoring average this season on the PGA Tour, there was no reason to expect to see Tarren, who is ranked 445th in the world, on the leaderboard.

“I’m kind of pinching myself, because I didn’t realize I was on the top of the leaderboard until I pulled that final putt on the ninth hole,” said Tarren. “Just excited with my start, and let’s see what the next few days holds.”

Tarren began on the 10th hole — with a bogey. Then, eight pars in a row before he birdied No. 1. A bogey on No. 2 left him even, before a couple of birdies and an eagle on No. 8 made his day.

Callum Tarren waves to the crowd on the ninth green during Thursday's opening round at The Country Club.Callum Tarren waves to the crowd on the ninth green during Thursday’s opening round at The Country Club.Warren Little/Getty

This is the second US Open for Tarren, and he’s 2 for 2 with having transportation and/or golf club issues on the way to the tournament. In 2019, he had to practice with borrowed clubs and also incurred a $450 taxi ride from San Francisco to Pebble Beach because of travel snafus. And when his plane from Toronto landed at Logan Saturday, his clubs weren’t on it. They made it here Sunday.

That Tarren made it on the leaderboard was not exactly planned, either.

“I honestly don’t know, that’s a good question,” said Tarren when asked if he expected to do so well. “I would have said, ‘I’ll take it,’ but, like I said, I think you’ve stumped me. I honestly can’t answer that.”

Joel Dahmen

Dahmen’s 130th worldwide ranking is McIlroy-like compared with Lingmerth and Tarren, so maybe you have heard his name before. He usually wears a bucket hat.

Locals may recall that after missing the cut at the 2020 Northern Trust at TPC Boston, Dahmen sent out a call on Twitter to get in some more golf. He found it at Thorny Lea in Brockton.

This is his third US Open (2019, 2020) and it could be the first in which Dahmen, a testicular cancer survivor, makes the cut. He’s won one tournament — Corales Puntacana Championship last year — and the 34-year-old Washington native is taking his showing Thursday in stride.

Joel Dahmen tries to coax a putt closer to the ninth hole on Thursday at The Country Club.Joel Dahmen tries to coax a putt closer to the ninth hole on Thursday at The Country Club.Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

“Do I believe in myself? Yeah,” said Dahmen. “If you look at my game and what I am, for me to make it on Tour for six years and play this well, that’s probably overachieving some would say. I wasn’t All-American. I wasn’t the best.

” I love being nervous. I love my hands shaking. That’s why we play the game. I’ve done pretty well under pressure. The closer I get to it, I don’t tend to just completely collapse.

“How often are you going to be tied for the lead of the US Open? This is incredible, right?”


MJ Daffue

That last name is pronounced “Duffy,” and the 33-year-old South African who grew up speaking Afrikaans and attended Lamar University is a Korn Ferry Tour newcomer who’s been playing well this season, with three top-three finishes on the Korn Ferry.

A round of golf as a 12-year-old with South African golf legend Retief Goosen (two-time US Open winner) was instrumental in Daffue’s decision to become a golfer.

He’s more than happy to be here.

“I’ve never been to Boston,” said Daffue. “I know they’re crazy fans over here, but I’m loving it. Apparently some guy over there, I made him $600 making a putt. He was loving it.”

MJ Daffue had plenty of reasons to smile after his opening round performance Thursday at the US Open.MJ Daffue had plenty of reasons to smile after his opening round performance Thursday at the US Open.Patrick Smith/Getty

Michael Silverman can be reached at michael.silverman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.


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