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Long, sloppy day for Max Homa and U.S. Open field

Homa is 2-over through six holes after day one

Posted: June 13, 2013 7:25 p.m.
Updated: June 13, 2013 7:25 p.m.

Course workers clear water from the second fairway after a weather delay during the first round of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club on Thursday in Ardmore, Pa.

 

ARDMORE, Pa. (AP) — Half of the players in the U.S. Open on Thursday were unable to complete their opening rounds due to multiple lengthy weather delays at Merion Golf Club.

Former Valencia Viking Max Homa was one of the unlucky golfers scheduled for a late tee time, and the 22-year-old amateur came out of the day at 2-over through just six holes.

Shortly after play was suspended due to darkness, Homa summed it up on his Twitter account by saying, “Longest day ever and I only played 6 holes! Lookin forward to a marathon tomorrow. #usopen”

Play for Homa and the rest of those who didn’t finish their Thursday rounds will begin Friday at 4:15 a.m. Pacific Time.

Round two will start immdiately after each player finishes round one.

The leader in the clubhouse at the end of the day Thursday was Phil Mickelson, who shot a 3-under 67 to match his best opening round in the U.S. Open.

He was one stroke behind Luke Donald, who was at 4-under through 13 holes.

Mickelson had spent the last few days at his San Diego home for his daughter’s eighth-grade graduation before returning to Merion about 3 1/2 hours before his tee time. He three-putted his first hole for a bogey and didn’t give back a shot the rest of the day.

Mickelson was one of just two players under par among the 78 who finished their rounds.

Because Mickelson is scheduled for a late tee time Friday, he won’t have to tee it up again for another 24 hours.

Enough time to fly back to San Diego?

“I don’t want to push it, no,” Mickelson said with a tired smile.

Tiger Woods faced a tougher road. He appeared to hurt his left hand after trying to gouge out of the deep rough on the opening hole. He grimaced and shook his left wrist again after hitting a 5-wood out of the rough on the fifth hole. He already had three bogeys though five holes before starting to make up ground with a 50-foot birdie putt on the par-4 sixth hole.

Woods, however, failed to take advantage on the short stretch of holes in the middle of the round, and he was shaking his hand again after shots out of the rough on the 10th and twice on the 11th. He was 2-over for his round and had a 4-foot par putt on the 11th when play was stopped for the day.

“I’ve got a lot of holes to play tomorrow,” Woods said. “And, hopefully, I can play a little better than I did today.”

Masters champion Adam Scott, playing with Woods and Rory McIlroy, was 3-under through 11 holes, while defending U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson was 2-under through eight holes. McIlroy was 1-under.

Lee Westwood got the full Merion experience. He was 3-under when his approach on the 12th hit the wicker basket — the signature at Merion, replacing traditional flags — and bounced off the green, leading to a double bogey.

For Mickelson, this could be the start of yet another chance to win the major championship he wants so dearly. Or maybe he’s setting himself up for more heartache. He already has been a runner-up a record five times in the U.S. Open.

“If I’m able — and I believe I will — if I’m able to ultimately win a U.S. Open, I would say that it’s great,” Mickelson said. “Because I will have had ... a win and five seconds. But if I never get that win, then it would be a bit heart-breaking.”

Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, the only other player from the morning wave to break par, picked up birdies on the short seventh and eighth holes for a 69.

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, Tim Clark, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Jerry Kelly were the only others who at least matched par at 70. Clark and Kelly were at 2 under deep in their rounds until running into trouble, which isn’t hard to do in the U.S. Open, especially at Merion. Clark took a double bogey-bogey stretch in the middle of his back nine. Kelly was one shot behind Mickelson until a double bogey on the 18th hole.

“It’s a lot tougher than they say it is,” Schwartzel said.

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