Two Queenslanders shared the limelight at the US Open, but it was Greg Norman rather than Jason Day who left the most indelible impression after a fine debut in the commentary booth.

Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson grabbed the opening-round lead on the first occasion the US Open has been played in America’s northwest. They carded 5-under 65s at Chambers Bay Golf Course on Puget Sound, southwest of Seattle.

Patrick Reed was a stroke back on 4-under 66, join Matt Kuchar and Ben Martin at 3-under on the controversial links-style layout that is at odds with the setup of traditional US Open venues.

Jason Day leads the Australian contingent, three shots off the pace. Playing in the marquee threesome alongside Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth, Day produced a 2-under 68, one of the best rounds of the afternoon starters. A horrible lie on the par-3 16th cost him a double-bogey and the chance to challenge the clubhouse lead.

Of the other Australians, Geoff Ogilvy turned back the clock to shoot 1-under 69. The 2006 US Open champion is attempting to become just the fifth non-American with multiple US Open titles. Adam Scott and Cameron Smith shot even-par 70 to be tied for 26th place.

But it was Norman – so often a slow starter at the US Open during his playing career – who relished the limelight and the opportunity to share his thoughts to a wider audience.

Norman was a surprise choice to host Fox’s coverage of the Open after it won the right to replace NBC as host broadcaster of US Golf Association events.

From the outset, the Great White Shark made some insightful comments. He told us how he woke up at 4.30am in the morning, opened up the drapes, and went Wow. “If I was playing golf today I would be so excited because there’s a little bit of cloud cover, a little bit of moisture, the moisture is going to stay in the greens and the depth perception for your shots is so spot on. So these top players are going to be loving today.”

On schoolboy Cole Hammer teeing it up as the third youngest competitor in US Open history, Norman remarked: “At 15 years old I was on a surfboard. I didn’t even have a golf club in my hand. God bless him . . . He looks as though he needs to run around in the shower to get wet.

Norman asked poignant questions to Mike Davis, USGA executive director, and he used his knowledge of golf course architecture to comment on the intricacies of Chambers Bay. He gave special insights into the Australian players, for instance, that Day has changed trainers to become “golf fit” instead of “ego fit”, developing a lot more flexibility and rotation.

The Shark relayed a personal anecdote about how Scott called him up for advice about reuniting with caddie Steve Williams for the remaining major championships in 2015. Norman revealed Williams made the comment that Adam had lost his way. “It was very interesting to hear him say that. But now with Steve on his bag, Adam just said to him, ‘Steve, you just tell me where to hit it.’ ”

However, Norman saved his most incisive commentary when assessing 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, who carded a disastrous 10-over 80. After a blocked tee shot, Norman explained that Woods’ spine angle fell backwards just before impact, hence leaving the clubface wide open for the ball to spear right.

“What I see is his left elbow is getting so far away from his body at impact. It’s like he’s so scared to hit it left. He wants to just make sure that the only shot he’s got is missing it right . . . You’ve got to pull that elbow and let your rotation in your body and your elbow get around.”

Norman suggested Woods should contact a neutral person to get him out of his form slump. He talked about how he spoke with Jack Nicklaus when going through a difficult period.

As for Woods’ chances of recovering his game, Norman said: “I truly believe he will come back to some degree. Will he get back to his prominence and best player in the world? No, I don’t think he’ll get there. I think he is physically able to get himself to a position where he will win golf tournaments again.”

*-Rohan Clarke is the senior writer for Australian Golf Digest.

T1 – Henrik Stenson 65 (-5)
T1 – Dustin Johnson 65 (-5)
3 – Patrick Reed 66 (-4)
T4 – Matt Kuchar 67 (-3)
T4 – Ben Martin 67 (-3)
T4 – Brian Campbell-a 67 (-3)

Other notables
T7 – Jordan Spieth 68 (-2)
T7 – Jason Day 68 (-2)
T14 – Phil Mickelson 69 (-1)
T14 – Geoff Ogilvy 69 (-1)
T26 – Cameron Smith 70 (Even)
T26 – Bubba Watson 70 (Even)
T26 – Adam Scott 70 (Even)
T42 – Marcus Fraser 71 (+1)
T52 – Kurt Barnes 72 (+2)
T52 – John Senden 72 (+2)
T52 – Martin Kaymer 72 (+2)
T52 – Rory McIlroy 72 (+2)
T52 – Justin Rose 72 (+2)
T79 – Marc Leishman 73 (+3)
T152 – Tiger Woods 80 (+10)