World number one Dustin Johnson opened defence of his U.S. Open crown with a shaky three-over 75 while number two Rory McIlroy, sidelined for much of the year with rib and back injuries, opened with an eagle but could not shake the rust, fading to six-over 78 after being punished by the brutal fescue rough on several occasions.
A blimp caught fire and crashed into a field at Erin Meadows Farm in Erin Hills.
The first responders transported the injured pilot to a waiting medical helicopter that had landed in the field. He was taken by helicopter to a hospital.
Update 7:30pm: The pilot of a blimp that crashed at the US Open has received serious burns.
Mary Ruediger, 45, was visiting her parents who live along an access road to the golf course and spotted the blimp going down.
The Sheriff's Office said it is assisting the FAA and National Transportation Safety Bureau with the investigation. It is the 117th U.S. Open.
Images posted on Twitter appeared to show the blimp coming down behind a line of trees, a good distance from spectators and players.
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Two fire departments were at the golf course when the blimp went down at about 11:15 a.m. local time, the sheriff's office said.
"It was nice. You don't get many rounds at the US Open that are stress-free".
Justin Maynard, a sales manager for AirSign, said the company's operations team on the ground in Erin had no more definitive information on pilot's condition, other than the pilot was expected to be OK.
A blimp crashes during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday, June 15, 2017, near Erin Hills in Erin, Wis. AirSign, an advertising company, operates the bl. "No other people were involved in the incident, and local law enforcement is now investigating".
Rickie Fowler, a prime candidate to become the next in a long line of first-time major winners, fired a record-equalling seven-under-par 65 to seize a two-shot clubhouse lead in Thursday's first round of the U.S.
A writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer said he witnessed the crash and the "pilot looked to have parachuted out".