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Friday, 19 March 2010
U.S. Open - Round One  (Getty Images)
U.S. Open - Round One (Getty Images)

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell led the European Tour charge as first round play resumed at The US Open Championship.

With play washed out after just three and a quarter hours yesterday there was a blanket restart at Bethpage Black this morning as groundstaff worked right up until the players resumed their rounds to get the waterlogged par 70 course up to scratch.

There were problems for the players to deal with also as the 78 who began their rounds yesterday morning crowded the practice range as dawn broke in a bid to warm up for the continuation of play.

Not that it bothered McDowell, playing the back nine first in his opening round.

Coming off a final round 63 in the St Jude Classic in Memphis last Sunday, the 29 year old birdied the 17th, his eighth hole, and followed suit at the par four second and par five fourth to move into the outright lead on two under.

A bogey at the par four sixth saw McDowell slip back to one under but that was still enough to hand him the clubhouse lead alongside American amateur Drew Weaver.

Weaver's fellow countryman Sean O'Hair and Denmark's Soren Hansen were both on two under after four holes as the rest of the 156 strong field belatedly got their first rounds underway.

Afterwards, McDowell said: “I'm happy with my round. Obviously my seven holes yesterday morning were key.

“I was happy to hang in there and give myself a chance to come out this morning and shoot under par.

“I've got a lot of work to do. There’s three rounds coming up, very important rounds. And there's definitely some areas of my game that I can work on.

“I've got to stay in the present, keep doing what I'm doing all weekend and realise it's going to be a tough slog.”

Joint overnight leader Johan Edfors was one of a host of players on level par after he fought back strongly from bogeys on his opening two holes today.

A bogey at the 17th ensured he finished with a 70, the same score as England’s Ian Poulter, who carded two birdies and two bogeys to finish on his overnight score of level par.

Italian Francesco Molinari picked up birdies on the 14th and 16th holes to join a large group on one over, while England’s Lee Westwood was a shot further back after completing his opening round in 72 strokes.

Westwood said: “I was pretty pleased with the way I played. Two over after five holes yesterday was the absolute worst that it could have been. But I knew that I was playing well and felt I could get out there today and do some damage.

“The only bogey I made was because of mud on the ball at the tenth but I played very solidly. Two over is a good start and I am right in it.”

Henrik Stenson, Geoff Ogilvy, Tim Clark and Andres Romero were among the other European Tour members in contention on three over.

Defending champion and world number one Tiger Woods suffered a disappointing finish to his round, dropping four shots in his final four holes for a total of 74.

Masters Tournament champion Angel Cabrera and three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington were grouped with Woods and ended their first round on four over and six over respectively.

The United States Golf Association are hoping to get the second round under way at 4pm (9pm BST) as they bid to get back on track after yesterday’s delays.

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