OAKMONT, United States (REUTERS) - Little-known American Andrew Landry upstaged the game’s biggest names on a frustrating day of multiple weather delays as he grabbed an early one-shot lead in the first round of the US Open on Thursday.
The 28-year-old PGA Tour rookie, competing for the first time in the year’s second major, carded five birdies and two bogeys in 17 holes on a rain-softened layout at Oakmont Country Club outside Pittsburgh to get to three under.
Benefiting from accurate driving on a layout known as one of the most treacherous in golf, Landry was lining up a 10-foot birdie putt on his final hole, the par-four ninth, when the horn sounded to suspend play for a third time.
Just over half an hour later, play was suspended for the day as lightning strikes flashed, thunder rumbled and heavy rain swept across the course.
Twice Masters champion Bubba Watson, after 14 holes, and New Zealand’s Danny Lee, after 13, were both at two under on a day when thunderstorms and heavy rain had already wiped out more than three-and-three-quarter hours of scheduled play.
American amateur Scottie Scheffler, at the age of 19 playing in his first U.S. Open, carded a one-under 69 to hold the clubhouse lead.
“Three more rounds to go,” Scheffler, one of only nine players to finish the opening round, told reporters.
“We’ll see where the lead is at. My game plan isn’t going to change too much.
“Try to get the ball in play and see what I can do on the fairways out here. It’s not easy to play from the rough and the bad spots around this course.”
Level with Scheffler at one under were England’s former world number one Lee Westwood, who had completed 13 holes, and Americans Kevin Streelman, after 16, and Harris English, after 12.
“It’s obviously a frustrating day having to keep coming off, but there’s nothing you can do about the weather,” Westwood said after mixing an eagle two at the par-four 14th with two birdies and three bogeys. “I’m playing well though, playing nicely. I’ve dropped shots when I’ve missed it in the wrong spots and made some nice birdies too.”
Defending champion Jordan Spieth was at one over through 11 holes, having followed a birdie at the par-five 12th with bogeys at the par-four 14th and the par-four second.
Among the other big names at Oakmont, world number three Rory McIlroy was four over after 13 holes, Masters champion Danny Willett four over after 12 and 2014 US Open champion Martin Kaymer level after 13.
Thursday’s opening round had been destined to spill over into Friday after a weather delay in mid-morning of just over an hour and a quarter while a line of storms passed through the area.
The treacherous Oakmont layout, known for its lightning-fast greens and sloping contours, had been softened by more than 2.5cm of rain overnight and further thunderstorms had always been expected for Friday afternoon.