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McIlroy left frustrated by US Open greens as Stenson and DJ set early pace

The world number one is seven shots off the clubhouse leaders.

RORY MCILROY ENDURED a frustrating opening day the 115th US Open at Chambers Bay today, carding two over par 72.

US Open Golf Source: Charlie Riedel

McIlroy was pleased with his form from tee to green, but once on the putting surface he admitted he struggled to cope with the surprises presented by the short grass.

“When the ball doesn’t go where it’s supposed to go, it’s hard to trust a line,” the reigning champion told Sky Sports finishing his round.

The county Down man got off to a good start, birdying his second hole (the 11th), but was soon suffering at the hands of Chambers Bay as he hit bogeys at 14 and 15.

McIlroy was able to pull back to level par with a birdie on 16 and worked to maintain that Even score, carding eight straight pars before going into positive numbers again with a bogey on the seventh followed up by a bogey four on his last hole.

As it stands, McIlroy is seven behind the leading pack that includes Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson who each carded five-under-par 65s.

US Open Golf Mickelson is hoping to win his first US Open. Source: Matt York

Matt Kuchar is two shots further back on -3, while Phil Mickelson, who blazed the early trail by reaching the turn at three under par, ended up with a one-under par 69 thanks to three bogeys on the back nine.

Early playing conditions were perfect with light cloud and no wind as the world’s best golfers got to grips with the testing links-style layout, that is hosting the first US Open to be held in the US Pacific Northwest.

Graeme McDowell, who won this event at Pebble Beach in 2010, had a disastrous start to his day, carding a double bogey on his opening hole. Birdies at 14 and 16 erased the deficit, but only temporarily as G-Mac lost another shot before the turn on the par 3 17th, and followed up with seven pars and two bogeys on his back nine to finish with 74, four over par.

Update 01.30

There were mixed fortunes at the halfway point of Irish rounds in Washington. Shane Lowry is hot on the heels of the leaders with an excellent -2 through nine thanks to birdies on 15, 17 and 18 that wiped out the shot picked up at 13. Darren Clarke meanwhile, double bogeyed the first and was unable to regain the lost ground.

The former Open Champion compounded the situation with a bogey on the second. And, after seeming to steady the ship on the sixth hole, picked up three consecutive bogeys at the ninth, 10th and 11th to leave him at five-over-par through 12 at the time of writing.

US Open Golf Source: Matt York

For Tiger Woods, a miraculously deft rescue shot from a bunker under the 10th green was as good as it got on the front nine. The sports once-dominant force carded four bogeys in the first six holes to leave him nine shots back from the early leaders.

The best of the late tee-offs was unquestionably American Ben Martin who had an eagle 2 to his name as part of a stunning opening half of his round on holes 10 to 18 at Chambers Bay. The 27-year-old sustained the momentum with a fourth birdie on the second hole to join the leading pack on five under par.

Masters Champion Jordan Spieth is -1 at the time of writing, carding birdies either side of the turn to overturn a sixth hole bogey.

Live leaderboard available here>

© – AFP, 2015

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