Tue, 27 Jul 2021

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen matched US clubhouse pace-setter Russell Henley for the overall lead when darkness halted Thursday's first round of the US Open, where Phil Mickelson struggled in his bid to complete a career Grand Slam.

Live scorecard

Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Championship winner, made three consecutive birdies to close his first nine after a 10th-tee start, then added an 11-foot birdie putt at the fifth to reach 4-under.

That's where he stood when he stopped on the 17th green, level with Henley's four-under par 67, when sunset fell with 36 players from the field of 156 needing to finish the opening round on Friday after a 90-minute morning fog delay.

"I played nicely, putted nicely and hopefully just keep the momentum going," Oosthuizen said.

World number 18 Oosthuizen, whose five major runner-up finishes since his win 11 years ago include last month's PGA Championship, sank birdie putts from just inside 20 feet at 12, another from 19 feet at the par-3 16th, a 25-footer at 17 and a tap-in at 18.

World number 63 Henley, an American who hasn't won a PGA Tour title since the 2017 Houston Open and lacks a top-10 major finish, made three birdies and a bogey on both the front and back nines to set the early pace at Torrey Pines.

"Over the last year, I've played the best golf I've played consistently in my career. I feel like I have more of a complete game," Henley said.

"But I haven't finished top 10 in majors or anything. Haven't really been in the majors. I want to play better in the majors."

Italy's Francesco Molinari, the 2018 British Open champion, and Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello, who holed out from just inside 60 feet to eagle the par-5 18th, shared second on 68.

"It's nice to get off to a good start, but there's a long way to go," Molinari said. "You need to grind and fight for 18 holes."

"A little bit of luck holing a chip-out on 18," Cabrera Bello said. "I'm just very pleased with the score."

Among those who finished in gathering gloom was Spain's third-ranked Jon Rahm, who shot 69 after spending much of last week in Covid-19 quarantine.

"Even 20 minutes difference on sleep... you wish you had a couple extra minutes and by finishing today we get that, so it's a big difference," Rahm said. "Hopefully I can keep this good game going.

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan also finished late. He began the back nine with two birdies, the latter from 50 feet, to join Rahm in a pack on 69.

"I played really good," Matsuyama said. "Hopefully I can keep up the same momentum tomorrow."

Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, coming off right knee surgery in March, and US compatriots Hayden Buckley and Xander Schauffele were also in the clubhouse on 69.

A day after his 51st birthday, hometown hero Mickelson stumbled to a 75 with three bogeys in his first six holes. He recovered with a 10-foot birdie putt at the 17th but bogeys at six and seven saw him into the clubhouse eight off the pace.

"Fought hard, made a lot of short putts to kind of keep myself in it and then I ended up bogeying six and seven," Mickelson said. "I'm a little disappointed about that.

"I feel like I'm close to putting together a good round."

Mickelson became golf's oldest major winner last month by taking the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island to capture his sixth career major title.

But the US Open has eluded the 30th-ranked left-hander, who has settled for a record six runner-up showings.

Mickelson hopes to join career Grand Slam winners Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen.

McIlroy in late on 70

Several top stars raced sunset to finish the round in twilight gloom.

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy closed with an eight-foot birdie putt to open on 70, bouncing back after bogeys at the 12th and par-5 13th holes.

"The birdie is awesome. That putt was pretty. It was nice to get in, get an extra hour of sleep," McIlroy said.

"You can get away with some wayward shots off the tee, and I did, but I was able to recover well and hit greens."

World number one Dustin Johnson opened on 71 while defending champion Bryson DeChambeau shot 73, undone by three consecutive bogeys starting at the par-3 11th.

Scores in Thursday's darkness-halted opening round of the 121st US Open at par-71 Torrey Pines (a denotes amateur, 36 players to finish Friday morning):

67 - Russell Henley (USA)

68 - Francesco Molinari (ITA), Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP)

69 - Brooks Koepka (USA), Xander Schauffele (USA), Hayden Buckley (USA), Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Jon Rahm (ESP)

70 - Edoardo Molinari (ITA), Fabian Gomez (ARG), Patrick Rodgers (USA), Matthew Wolff (USA), Matt Fitzpatrick (ENG), Tyrrell Hatton (ENG), Adam Hadwin (CAN), Taylor Montgomery (USA), Richard Bland (ENG), Adam Scott (AUS), Rory McIlroy, (NIR)

71 - Greyson Sigg (USA), Marcus Armitage (ENG), Guido Migliozzi (ITA), Daniel Berger (USA), Kim Si-woo (KOR), a-Andrew Kozan (USA), Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Robert MacIntyre (SCO), Lee Westwood (ENG), Paul Casey (ENG), Sergio Garcia (ESP), Dustin Johnson (USA)

72 - Cameron Young (USA), Wilco Nienaber (RSA), Brian Harman (USA), Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), Harris English (USA), Shane Lowry (IRL), JT Poston (USA), Adrian Meronk (POL), Wade Ormsby (AUS), Tom Hoge (USA), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (RSA), Scottie Scheffler (USA), Bubba Watson (USA), Patrick Reed (USA)

73 - a-Pierceson Coody (USA), Mackenzie Hughes (CAN), Justin Thomas (USA), Kevin Kisner (USA), Matt Kuchar (USA), Abraham Ancer (MEX), Jason Kokrak (USA), Paul Barjon (FRA), Dylan Frittelli (RSA), Akshay Bhatia (USA), Stewart Cink (USA), Bryson DeChambeau (USA)

74 - Brad Kennedy (AUS), Chris Baker (USA), Viktor Hovland (NOR), Billy Horschel (USA), Gary Woodland (USA), Tony Finau (USA), Jimmy Walker (USA), Ian Poulter (ENG), Martin Laird (SCO), a-Matthew Sharpstene (USA), David Coupland (ENG), Erik van Rooyen (RSA), Matt Wallace (ENG), Marc Leishman (AUS)

75 - Jhonattan Vegas (VEN), Collin Morikawa (USA), Phil Mickelson (USA), Corey Conners (CAN), Bernd Wiesberger (AUT), Kang Sung (KOR), Taylor Pendrith (CAN), Zach Zaback (USA), Troy Merritt (USA), Joaquin Niemann (CHI), Victor Perez (FRA), Will Zalatoris (USA)

76 - Sahith Theegala (USA), Andy Pope (USA), Yosuke Asaji (JPN), Henrik Stenson (SWE), Ryan Palmer (USA), Max Homa (USA), Cameron Champ (USA), Lee Kyoung-hoon (KOR), Davis Shore (USA), Roy Cootes (USA), a-Joe Highsmith (USA), Chez Reavie (USA), Garrick Higgo (RSA)

77 - JJ Spaun (USA), Martin Kaymer (GER), Kevin Na (USA), Sam Ryder (USA), Ryo Ishikawa (JPN), a-Joe Long (ENG), Luis Fernando Barco (PER), Mario Carmona (MEX), Wilson Furr (USA), Hayden Springer (USA), Eric Cole (USA), Jordan Smith (ENG), a-Cole Hammer (USA), Jordan Spieth (USA)

78 - Robby Shelton (USA), Dylan Meyer (USA), Bo Hoag (USA), Tyler Strafaci (USA), Justin Rose (ENG)

79 - Webb Simpson (USA), James Hervol (USA)

80 - Thomas Aiken (RSA), Steve Allan (AUS)

82 - Alvaro Ortiz (MEX)

Groups needing to finish first round on Friday:

Matt Jones (AUS)

Brendan Steele (USA)

Cameron Smith (AUS)

Carlos Ortiz, (MEX)

Zach Johnson (USA)

Lanto Griffin (USA)

Sam Burns (USA)

Chan Kim (USA)

Thomas Detry (BEL)

a-Ollie Osborne (USA)

Peter Malnati (USA)

Brian Stuard (USA)

John Huh (USA)

Johannes Veerman (USA)

Zack Sucher (USA)

Rick Lamb (USA)

Michael Johnson (USA)

Carson Schaake (USA)

Patrick Cantlay (USA)

Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)

Im Sung-jae (KOR)

Kevin Streelman (USA)

Branden Grace (RSA)

Charley Hoffman (USA)

Sebastian Munoz (COL)

Rikuya Hoshino (JPN)

Brendon Todd (USA)

Wyndham Clark (USA)

a-Matthias Schmid (GER)

Matthew Southgate (ENG)

a-Spencer Ralston (USA)

Dylan Wu (USA)

Justin Suh (USA)

Luis Gagne (CRC)

Kyle Westmoreland (USA)

Christopher Crawford (USA)

Source: News24

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