Sluggish start for Rory McIlroy at Oakmount

Sluggish start for Rory McIlroy at Oakmount

Rory McIlroy's conservative approach failed to pay dividends as he struggled to take advantage of ideal conditions for the early starters in the first round of the US Open.

More than an inch of rain fell overnight to soften the course and slow Oakmont's severely sloping greens, which were described as "legendarily fast" by USGA chief executive Mike Davis on Wednesday.

That looked to have played into the hands of McIlroy, who won his first major title in the 2011 US Open with a record 16 under par total in wet conditions at Congressional.

However, the four-time major winner missed the fairway on each of the first three holes, despite taking an iron off the tee, and bogeyed the second and third after being forced to play out sideways from deep fairway bunkers.

At two over par the 27-year-old was already four shots off the early pace being set by Americans Kevin Streelman and Andrew Landry, who had started from the 10th and were two under par for seven and nine holes respectively.

Open champion Zach Johnson, Matt Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood, Shane Lowry and Bubba Watson were all one under par, with defending champion Jordan Spieth level par after two holes.

Masters champion Danny Willett, who is looking to match Spieth's achievement last year of winning the first two majors of the season, was also level par after following a birdie on the second with a bogey on the third.

Unsurprisingly McIlroy opted for a driver off the tee on the 609-yard fourth hole and split the fairway before finding the green with a fairway wood to set up his first birdie of the day.

Westwood had bogeyed the 13th but bounced back in style by holing his approach to the 14th from 124 yards for an eagle to join stablemate Fitzpatrick on two under par after the former US Amateur champion had birdied the sixth.

Landry had moved into the outright lead on three under with a birdie on the second, although weather warnings had been posted on scoreboards around the course due to the threat of approaching thunderstorms.

Play was duly suspended shortly after 10am local time and a number of players took shelter in the media centre located to the right of the 17th fairway.

And the group of Westwood, Donald and Martin Kaymer headed straight for the media dining area to watch the England v Wales game in Euro 2016, arriving just a few minutes before Jamie Vardy's equaliser.

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