Landry leads as weather hits early at US Open

Oakmont (United States)—Little-known Andrew Landry was atop the leaderboard Thursday when lightning in the area halted play with golf’s top names struggling to gain traction at the US Open.
Landry, ranked 624th in the world and boasting one win on the developmental tour, made the most of the rain-softened course to nab three birdies in his first 11 holes at Oakmont.
He led a group four players on two-under that included former world number one Lee Westwood and fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick, New Zealand’s Danny Lee and American Kevin Streelman.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth, the world number two trying to become the first player since Curtis Strange in 1988-89 to win back-to-back US Opens, was in a group at one-under with one birdie in his first four holes.
World number three Rory McIlroy was one-over through five. McIlroy missed the first three fairways, making back to back bogeys at the second and third after finding bunkers at both.
He clawed back a shot with a creative birdie at the par-five fourth, where he reached the green in two but at 60 feet from the pin opted to chip toward the hole, leaving himself a three-footer for birdie.
The horn sounded to halt play because of the danger posed by lightning after three hours and 19 minutes of play.
US Golf Association officials planned to shelter players in vans on the course, hoping to resume play without having to bring everyone back to the clubhouse.
But with scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, the field faced a potentially frustrating afternoon on a course already reckoned among the hardest to host a US Open.
A stream of the game’s best could only shake their heads during early week practice rounds as they recounted the dangers and difficulties posed by the par-70, 7,219 course laid out in rolling country northeast of Pittsburgh.
“You have to be so disciplined,” McIlroy said. “One of the real challenges about this golf course, especially after taking so many trees away, is that it’s a big, wide-open space now and you’re hitting into these tight fairways.
“There’s not really a whole lot of definition out there. So you have to be so zoned in to where you want your target to be.”—AFP

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