Seven-over-par first round of 77 puts Rory McIlroy under pressure in the US Open as rainfall leaves the second round a long way short of its scheduled completion

The good news is that round one of the 116 th US Open aimed. That was 33 hours after it had begun. In a nod towards the impact of torrential rainfall 11 entrants had transgressed par; only eight did that in the entire tournament when it was played here at Oakmont in 2007.

The dynamic of this US Open is not so much confusing as a proper puzzle. There are decent leaderboard positions, seemingly poor positions and a vast swath of players for whom both 36 -hole elimination and challenging for the tournament are potential reality.

Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Adam Scott were among those forced into playing two Friday rounds as tournament organisers played catch-up from the storm chaos that all but wiped out Thursday. Day amazingly spent the afternoon looking to mend injury from an earlier 76. Johnson, once again in a US Open, was considerably more prominent.

What can be said with certainty is that Rory McIlroy did not have 77, seven over par, in mind for the starting point to the second major of 2016. It is also a glaring fact that one event where conflicts of a technological nature will be brutally exposed is in a US Open. For McIlroy these matters are intrinsically linked.

So much of McIlroys form can be assessed by demeanour. At Oakmont the Northern Irishman has not looked at ease with the world. Two shoots on the 10 th hole of his first round a snap-hooked tee shoot and fairway wood carved right offered a snapshot of ongoing issues McIlroy was later and candidly willing to admit.

It is difficult for everyone but, whenever youre not really in control of what youre doing out there and struggling with your golf game … McIlroy said.

It was sort of compounded by the fact that it was so stop and start and I just really struggled. I merely need to focus on trying to hitting fairways and hitting greens. I suppose I make five fairways and eight greens out there, which obviously isnt going to do anything. Honestly Ive been struggling with my swinging, even in the practice rounds a little bit. I know what Im doing but its hard to change it out there. Its been hard to give it any sort of time this week to work on it.

Dustin Johnson on the seventh green. Photo: Tannen Maury/ EPA

McIlroy headed from the course during mid-morning with 18 holes eventually complete. He is part of a 78 -strong group who were told not to return until early on Saturday for a belated second round. It is that split in the fields which entails this US Opens haves and have-nots will not be obvious until Saturday lunchtime. Merely Oakmonts tournament history suggests hovering around level par would be helpful for Sunday prospects. Bubba Watson will re-appear for an 8.06 tee time at one under but, most probably, irritated. I need 12 hours sleep, or I get cranky, the two-time Master champ groaned.

If McIlroy, who has his lifelong coach-and-four Michael Bannon in attendance, can iron out his flaws, then he at the least has scope to take advantage of the aggressive golfing style that has so often provided a foundation for glory. Tellingly, the 27 -year-old spoke of pulling his driver from the pouch far more frequently when he returns to the course. The subtext there is boom or bust.

Jordan Spieths schedule matches that of McIlroy. The defending champ opened with a 72, after which he bemoaned “the worlds biggest” scene. Its a little bit of a shame, because Oakmont was so great in those practice-round days when it started to firm up, Spieth said. Now, its still great but its a different golf course.I felt like I played well. I didnt quite get rewarded with my rating for how I felt like I played. I had a couple of tough breaks but its a US Open. Im still in it.

Lee Westwoods prospects has become even more live after he signed for a 67. This years Masters has provided a kick-start for the Englishman, if only because it allowed him to draw upon the positive emotions of arguing for a tournament once again. Its one of the best[ US Open] starts Ive ever had, the 43 -year-old said.

I felt confident out there and make a lot of good shoots. I was shaping it both ways, which you need to do in US Opens to get at a lot of the flags. Im pleased with the start , no doubt about that.

The most endearing moment on Friday was offered by Andrew Landry. The world No624 returned to Oakmont for one stroke, with the putter for a birdie on the 9th green. His 66 bettered anything Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus et al could manage during US Open first rounds here. Now arrives the hard part.

Read more:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *