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Friday, 08 June 2012
Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood  (Getty Images)
Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood (Getty Images)

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  • Rory McIlroy
  •  Luke Donald
  • Lee Westwood

Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, the top three players in the Official World Golf Ranking, will form a mouth-watering group for the first two rounds of the US Open Championship next week.

The trio will tee off from the first hole at the Olympic Club in California at 1.29pm local time on Thursday June 14 and will arguably be the most intriguing of the 52 groups, as Northern Irishman McIlroy attempts to successfully defend the title he won in swashbuckling style at Congressional last year.

Graeme McDowell, the man McIlroy succeeded as US Open Champion, is alongside Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk, who hoisted the US Open Championship Trophy in 2003, while Martin Kaymer, the US PGA Champion in 2010, is grouped with American Hunter Mahan and in-form Englishman Justin Rose.

Rose’s compatriot Ian Poulter is with American duo Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar, and three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington will play alongside 2012 US Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III and David Toms.

South African Ernie Els, who won the US Open in 1994 and 1997, is grouped with fellow former champions Geoff Ogilvy (2005) and Angel Cabrera (2007), and Spanish duo Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño will be joined by young Korean Bae Sang Moon.

Eight European Tour Members will be making their debut in the second Major Championship of the year, including South Africa’s Branden Grace, who will play with Thomas Björn and Kevin Na for the first two rounds.

European Ryder Cup players Peter Hanson and Francesco Molinari are joined by Bo Van Pelt, and Italian teenager Matteo Manassero will have the experienced Miguel Angel Jiménez in his group, along with Australian Aaron Baddeley.

The US Open begins at 7am (3pm BST) next Thursday and the full draw is available here.

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