Big guns battling at US Open
First-round play resumed at the rain-hit US Open today, but it did Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington no favours.
First-round play resumed at the rain-hit US Open today but the return to the action did Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington no favours.
With play washed out after just three-and-a-quarter hours yesterday there was a blanket restart at Bethpage Black on New York’s Long Island this morning after groundstaff worked right up until the players resumed their rounds to get the waterlogged par-70 course up to scratch.
There were problems for the players to deal with as the 78 who began their rounds yesterday morning crowded the practice range as dawn broke in a bid to warm up for the continuation of play.
When they got out to their restart positions, the experience got no better for some, including defending champion Woods, who missed an eight-foot par putt at the seventh with his first stroke of the day to fall to two over par.
For Harrington the situation was more grave as he also made bogey at the hole and slipped to five over par, his prospects of winning a third major inside a year taking another dive when he then bogeyed the ninth after tangling with the rough off the tee, remaining at six over after 10 holes.
They were not the only ones struggling to find momentum after some limited preparation. Three of the four overnight leaders at one under par – American Ryan Spears, Canada’s Andrew Parr and Sweden’s Johan Edfors – all hit early trouble and dropped shots, leaving another American, Jeff Brehaut, alone on top of the leaderboard as he restarted at the 12th hole.
Justin Leonard leapfrogged Brehaut as he birdied the eighth and ninth holes to become the first player of the week to reach two under par, only to double-bogey the 508-yard, par-four 10th and return to level par.
England’s Ian Poulter also dropped a shot on his resumption at the eighth hole but he got back to level par with a bounce-back birdie at nine and after 11 holes was still in a tie for second in a large group one behind Brehaut that included Leonard, Edfors, Spears, Jim Furyk and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.
McDowell, playing the back nine first in his opening round, restarted with a birdie at the par-three 17th, his eighth of the day and was still level par after 10 holes.
With the championship still playing catch-up, the other half of the field that was due to start on Thursday afternoon were due to begin their opening rounds at 10am local time (3pm BST), with the United States Golf Association hoping to get the second round under way at 4pm (9pm BST) in a bid to get back on track.
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