US Open: Lee Westwood makes thrilling start to major as weather disrupts play

Rain strikes with Englishman going well

Phil Casey
Oakmont
Thursday 16 June 2016 22:26
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Jordan Spieth takes on the Church Pews bunker at the 15th at Oakmont
Jordan Spieth takes on the Church Pews bunker at the 15th at Oakmont

Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy found hugely enjoyable ways to pass the time as bad weather brought a frustrating opening day of the 116th US Open to an early close.

Only half of the 156 players were able to start their opening round and just nine finished as a series of thunderstorms disrupted play at Oakmont before play was abandoned shortly after 4.30pm local time, with torrential rain bringing warnings of flash flooding in the area.

World number 624 Andrew Landry was three under par and facing a 10-foot birdie putt on his final hole when the siren sounded for the final time, leaving amateur Scottie Scheffler as the leader in the clubhouse after a one-under-par 69.

Westwood was one under par with five holes to play with stablemate Matt Fitzpatrick, Ireland's Shane Lowry and Scotland's Russell Knox level par, but McIlroy was four over in his bid for a second US Open title.

Lee Westwood in action at Oakmont

That left the Ryder Cup team-mates with a short walk across the 17th fairway to the media centre, where they took shelter from the rain and watched England's 2-1 win against Wales in the football European Championship, arriving just a few minutes before Jamie Vardy's equaliser.

The suspension lasted long enough to watch the rest of the game before play resumed after a 79-minute delay, although the players were unusually not allowed to warm up beforehand.

Masters champion Danny Willett was among those unhappy with the decision, writing on Twitter: “Find it odd that we stay in position for an hour, then might have to go straight back out.. Not great for the old body!!!”

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