Play halted at US Open

Exactly half of the field of 156 players who were to tee it up in round one of the US Open made it on to the course on day one at Bethpage but none would make it any further than the 11th hole of their rounds.

Heavy rain further drenched a golf course waterlogged by rain on 30 of the 45 days leading into the tournament and by 10:15 tournament officials - and the 78 players on the golf course had had enough. Play was called with round one now set to recommence at 7.30am on Friday morning.

Hopes are held to start round two at 4.00pm on Friday and complete it on Saturday morning although clearly the tournament will need to play catch up over the next three days or possibly more.

Any further significant disruption will almost inevitably mean he tournament carrying over until Monday and, in the event of a playoff, even longer. The US Open remains the only major where an 18 hole playoff is used to determine a winner.

It has been 26 years since the first 72 holes of a US Open were forced to carry over until Monday, when Larry Nelson won at Oakmont in 1983. It is looking more than a possibility this year.

Those making it onto the golf course today battled the elements from start. Steady rain began falling even before Rickie Fowler hit the first tee shot of this year's event and three hours later it was clear that there was little hope of any further play.

At that point four golfers had the privilege of saying they led the 2009 US Open at the end of day one. Americans Jeff Brehaut and Ryan Spears, Sweden's Johan Edfors, Canada's Andrew Parr were the only four players under par and, at 1 under, they lead by one over seven players at even par.

Brehaut has played on the Nationwide Tour the past two years after several seasons on the PGA Tour. He won two events on the Nationwide Tour earlier in his career.

"Obviously we'd all love to be playing in 80 degrees and sunny," said Brehaut. "But my wife's been telling me the last three days, embrace your conditions, embrace your conditions. So that was the first words out of her mouth today when she saw me. But everybody's got to play it. It's not what any of us wants to deal with - the weather. But they're still going to give out a trophy, I think."

The group at even par includes Ian Poulter, Justin Leonard, Bubba Watson and Masters Champion Angel Cabrera.

Others of note on the golf course and at 1 over include Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Paul Casey and the leading Australasians Michael Sim and Geoff Ogilvy although not much can be read into any of these scores at this stage.

Woods had played six holes recovering from a double bogey at his 5th hole before a birdie at the 6th completed his proceedings on day one.

Michael Sim, continuing his Nationwide Tour form, birdied his 5th hole of the round the 14th (he started at the 10th) and shared the lead but bogeyed his 6th and 7th holes. Ogilvy bogeyed Bethpage's 12th hole but through five holes he has done little damage to be just two behind the lead.

Players considered chances to do well this week, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald, have made horror starts and are at 4 over and 5 over respectively. Donald triple bogeyed his second hole to be on the back foot almost before he had started.

"I certainly thought nothing in the seven holes I played was unplayable," said Harrington. "I think when they called it, it was starting to become unplayable. What they did for those holes was managed what would be unplayable in another situation and was certainly fine as we played. There was no particular shot or situation that wasn't difficult, but there was nothing unfair, I would say."

Other Australians who made it onto the golf course were Michael Campbell at 1 over and Robert Allenby and Rod Pampling at 2 over.

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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