Ian Poulter ripped a hat-trick of birdies in his opening three holes to lead the US Open by a shot before play was suspended at Merion. The two events were not connected. The horn went two hours after the first ball was hit as the forecast storm moved into the Philadelphia area.
Organisers warned of the threat of severe disruptions and possible evacuation of the course with up to three inches of rain predicted. Starting at the 11 Poulter opened 3, 3, 2 to steal a march on the early starters.
Nicholas Colsaerts led a cluster of four players, including 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, one shot back on two under par.
Justin Rose also started with a birdie but successive dropped shots at 14 and 15, the latter after a four-footer for par horseshoed out, took him to one over. His mood as he walked to the 16 tee was darker than the skies.