Weir leads with a 64
Mike Weir shot a sizzling 64 to secure the lead in Friday’s rain-delayed first round of the US Open at Bethpage Black.
Mike Weir shot a sizzling 64 to secure the lead in Friday’s rain-delayed 1st round of the US Open at uncompromising Bethpage Black.
The 2003 Masters champion from Canada posted eight birdies but picked up a double bogey at the par-four sixth hole to sign for a six under par round that was two shots clear of Sweden’s Peter Hanson with former world number one David Duval and fellow former British Open champion Tod Hamilton tied for third place, three shots off the pace following a 67.
It could have been much better for Weir as he reached the sixth, his 16th of the round, at six under and on course for a US Open record round of 62. The six at the sixth put paid to that, but he rallied with a birdie, birdie finish.
Former world number one Duval, who suffered an alarming dip in form following his victory at the 2001 Open Championship at Lytham, had led a charge among the second wave of starters in the 156-man field as they finally got their first rounds under way in drying conditions on still soft greens.
Those conditions helped the late starters at Bethpage Black steal a march on the earlier starters of whom American amateur Drew Weaver and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell were the only two players under par.
McDowell, coming off a final-round 63 at the St Jude Classic in Memphis last Sunday, posted a one-under-par 69 after opening-round play resumed this morning following yesterday’s wash out on New York’s Long Island, while defending champion Tiger Woods suffered a nightmare finish to his first round.
McDowell’s 69 gave him a share of the early clubhouse lead alongside Weaver, but with conditions already more benign, the Northern Irishman said he was certainly not getting carried away.
“I’ve led a few majors after day one,” McDowell said.
“It’s not really what I’m trying to do. I’m just trying to stick around for the weekend. I’m trying to position myself as well as I possibly can and compete in Sunday afternoon.”
World number two Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott of Australia and Americans Lucas Glover and Ricky Barnes joined McDowell and Weaver at one under having been at three under after 14 holes.
Thyose low scores possibly spelled trouble for world number one Woods, who had been at level par with four holes to play but finished his round with a run of double bogey, bogey, par, bogey to leave him with a four-over 74.
Woods said: “I was even par with four to go, and I was right there where I needed to be, and two bad shots and a mud ball later, here we go and I’m at four over par.”
With play washed out after just three-and-a-quarter hours on Thursday, there had been a blanket morning restart after groundstaff worked right up until the players resumed their rounds to get the waterlogged par-70 course up to scratch.
As the morning progressed conditions became more benign and birdies began to creep onto scorecards.
That was not, however the case for Woods and reigning Open and US PGA champion Padraig Harrington.
Woods missed an eight-foot par putt at the seventh with his first stroke of the day to fall to two over par while Ireland’s Harrington also made bogey at the hole and then bogeyed the ninth after tangling with the rough off the tee.
Six over became seven at the 12th but the Dubliner sent down back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 and was back to five over with four holes to play.
Woods also clawed his way back from two over, with birdies at the 11th and 14th to get to level par but then both major champions double-bogeyed the par-four 15th to swing once more into reverse gear.
Woods kept going in the wrong direction but Harrington finished with a birdie at the last having got out of trouble from a fairway bunker with a wedge to 12 feet.
All four overnight leaders gradually fell off the pace with Americans Jeff Brehaut and Ryan Spears, Canada’s Andrew Parr and Sweden’s Johan Edfors all dropping shots, Brehaut and Edfors finishing best with level-par 70s.
England’s Ian Poulter was happy to come home in even par as the morning wave completed their rounds while compatriots Ross Fisher and Oliver Wilson later carded the same score.
“Good, solid start,” Poulter said, “I’m very happy, three birdies, three bogeys, and it’s a nice start to a US Open.”
Poulter’s compatriot Lee Westwood shot a 72, as did Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, while Martin Laird, Scotland’s lone competitor, and Darren Clarke, also of Northern Ireland, shot four-over 74s.
World number three Paul Casey will need to get back on track on Saturday after posting a three-bogey, one double bogey 75, the same score as fellow Englishman Simon Khan.
The English trio of qualifiers, Richard Bland, Simon Dyson and David Horsey, shot seven, eight and 11 over par scores respectively.
The late starters enjoyed only a short break following their rounds as they had to go back out to start their second 18 holes in a bid to get the championship back on schedule.
All the first round scores in the US Open Championship, Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Farmingdale, New York, United States of America.
(USA unless stated, par 70):
64 Mike Weir (Can)
66 Peter Hanson (Swe)
67 Ricky Barnes, Todd Hamilton, David Duval
68 Rocco Mediate
69 Phil Mickelson, Sean O’Hair, Adam Scott (Aus), Graeme McDowell (NIrl), Lucas Glover, David Toms, Drew Weaver
70 Ross Fisher (Eng), Kyle Stanley, David Smail (Nzl), Soren Hansen (Den), Oliver Wilson (Eng), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Jeff Brehaut, Fred Funk, Johan Edfors (Swe), Ian Poulter (Eng), Ryan Moore, Cameron Tringale
71 Francesco Molinari (Ita), Michael Sim (Aus), Matt Kuchar, Tom Lehman, Trevor Murphy, Kevin Sutherland, John Mallinger, Andrew McLardy (Rsa), Kenny Perry, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard, Camilo Villegas (Col), Brandt Snedeker
72 Rory Sabbatini (Rsa), Ben Curtis, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Ben Martin, Hunter Mahan, Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Azuma Yano (Jpn), Vijay Singh (Fij), Jim Furyk, Ryan Blaum, K J Choi (Kor), Thomas Levet (Fra), Lee Westwood (Eng)
73 Nick Watney, Brian Gay, Billy Mayfair, Geoff Ogilvy (Aus), Justin Rose (Eng), Bo Van Pelt, Briny Baird, Henrik Stenson (Swe), Steve Stricker, Peter Tomasulo, Shawn Stefani, Tyson Alexander, Michael Welch (Eng), Retief Goosen (Rsa), John Merrick, Casey Wittenberg, Stewart Cink, Nick Taylor, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Ryan Spears, J J Henry, J.B. Holmes, Andres Romero (Arg), Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra), Tim Clark (Rsa), Steve Allan (Aus)
74 Chris Kirk, Cameron Yancey, Tiger Woods, Gary Woodland, J.P. Hayes, Bronson Burgoon, Martin Laird (Sco), Craig Bowden, Stephen Ames (Can), Rodney Pampling (Aus), Angel Cabrera (Arg), Darren Clarke (NIrl), George McNeill, Sang-moon Bae (Kor), Andrew Parr (Can), Doug Batty (Nzl), Luke Donald (Eng), James Kamte (Rsa)
75 Zach Johnson, Darron Stiles, Matt Bettencourt, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa), Simon Khan (Eng), Charlie Wi (Kor), Robert Allenby (Aus), Ryuji Imada (Jpn), Paul Casey (Eng), Cortland Lowe, Carl Pettersson (Swe)
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