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Oosthuizen shares lead as first round completed in San Diego

Oosthuizen shares lead as first round completed in San Diego

Louis Oosthuizen stayed in a share of the lead as the weather affected first round of the 2021 U.S. Open Championship was completed early on day two in California.

Louis Oosthuizen

A 90 minute fog delay at the start of day one meant that some players had as many as six holes to complete on Friday morning but that was no problem for home favourite Russell Henley, who had carded a 67 from the fourth group of the day to get to four under at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Oosthuizen then joined him at that mark and was left with a 35 foot putt on his penultimate hole to take the solo lead when the hooter sounded to end play on Thursday.

When play resumed at 6.50am on Friday, the South African got down in two for his par and then also parred the ninth in a 67 to stay at four under, with a host of European Tour members in the chasing pack having completed their rounds on Thursday.

Francesco Molinari - the 2018 Open Champion - was at three under alongside Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello, with another Spaniard in Jon Rahm two off the lead.

Masters Tournament Champion Hideki Matsuyama, 2017 and 2018 winner of this event Brooks Koepka and Americans Hayden Buckley and Xander Schauffele were also at two under, where they were joined on Friday morning by Rikuya Hoshino.

Rory McIlroy was then in the group of players three shots off the lead.

Russell Henley

Oosthuizen already has a Major to his name at the 2010 Open Championship but has finished second five times in golf's four biggest events, including this one in 2015.

The fifth of those runner up finishes came at last month's US PGA Championship and the South African was enjoying the test of Torrey Pines.

"I just enjoy playing really tough golf courses," he said. "I think somehow I focus a little bit better when I play those courses, knowing that the margin for error is really small.

"Especially around this place, you've got to drive it well, you've got to start it in the fairway, and you're going to have trouble if you're missing fairways around this golf course and I've really been driving it good lately."

The 38-year-old bogeyed the 11th but holed a 20 footer on the 12th and then made a hat-trick of gains from the 16th with two more long putts and a two putt on the par five 18th.

He holed an 11 footer on the fifth to join the lead and was left with another lengthy putt at the par five ninth to come when darkness fell.

I just enjoy playing really tough golf courses. I think somehow I focus a little bit better when I play those courses

Henley was the 2010 Low Amateur at this event and while he has won three times on the US PGA Tour since, the World Number 63 believes now could be the time to kick-on further.

"I feel like the last year I've been playing golf that I feel like I'm a Top 50 player in the world," he said. "I've had a ton of top 10s. I've been in contention. I've been really consistent.

"That doesn't mean I'm going to definitely do that the next three days but I definitely felt comfortable out there. I feel confident with my game."

Henley started his round with a bogey but put approaches to around eight feet on the fifth and seventh before putting his tee shot to 15 feet on the eighth to turn in 33.

A smart second into the tenth was followed by a bogey on the 12th but the 32-year-old put an approach to three feet on the 15th before getting up and down at the par five last to take the solo lead.

Italian Molinari started with a birdie from 18 feet after finding sand off the tee and made another from around a third of that distance on the fourth.

He sandwiched another gain on the sixth with a pair of bogeys but was blemish free coming home, holing a 20 footer on the 16th and getting up and down from the sand on the last.

Cabrera Bello made 16 pars in his round, breaking the trend by chipping in on the 18th for eagle and putting an approach to two feet at the second.

Rahm started on the tenth and endured a roller coaster start, birdieing the tenth, 13th and 14th but dropping shots on the 11th, 12th and 15th.

A two putt birdie on the 18th had him back into red figures on the day and he made another birdie with a spun approach to eight feet on the second.

American Koepka made four birdies and two bogeys, as did Schauffele, while Japan's Matsuyama and Buckley both dropped a single shot with three birdies.

English trio Richard Bland, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton along with Italy's Edoardo Molinari were at one under with McIlroy.

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