Hicks steals spotlight from Woods

Justin Hicks got his second US Open off to a much better start than his first on Thursday at Torrey Pines to hold a one-stroke lead over Rocco Mediate and four over the returning Tiger Woods.

American Hicks is in the clubhouse with a three-under-par 68, one shot ahead of compatriot Rocco who finished with a two-under 69.

Lee Westwood, Sweden’s Robert Karlsson and American amateur Rickie Fowler completed their first rounds at one under on 70.

Stuart Appleby and Eric Axley were still on the course and at two under par.

Hicks has stolen the spotlight from Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the top two ranked players in the world.

The duo were joined by number three Adam Scott but not one of them has been able to make a serious dent on the leaderboard.

Woods gave the field a two-stroke head start early on, and the after making up the deficit, he slipped back once again.

Woods hit his first shot of the tournament into the rough at the first hole leading to a double-bogey and he spent the next eight holes climbing back up the leaderboard and was one-under par at the turn.

Woods started the back nine with four consecutive pars before his second double-bogey of the day, this one at the par-four 14th, and then finished his one-over 72 with a three-putt par at the par-five 18th.

Hicks was able to fire seven birdies but spoiled his card with four bogeys. He started on the 10th hole and had two runs of three consecutive birdies on his first nine holes. He added a birdie at the fourth hole and dropped to three-under with a bogey at the seventh.

Westwood also started his round at the 10th with two birdies and a bogey.

He closed his front nine with a birdie at 18 and then parred every hole on the back nine to place himself comfortably near the top of the leaderboard.

Karlsson got to four under with a 25-foot birdie at the first but he had bogeys at the third, fourth and eighth coming in to drop back.

Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and amateur Gary Wolstenholme were among the players with afternoon tee times.

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