Heavy rain hits US Open golf, Jeev at five-over for first eight holes

June 18th, 2009 - 11:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Tiger Woods By V. Krishnaswamy
Farmingdale (New York), June 18 (IANS) The US Open golf tournament had one of its wettest starts in recent years Thursday as heavy rain forced a suspension of play in mid-morning, with no player having gone beyond the 13th hole in the first round at the treacherous Bethpage Black course here.

The inclement weather also meant high scores with just four players under and India’s Jeev Milkha Singh playing with a troublesome inter-costal muscle was at a disastrous five-over after eight holes.

Jeev who made his major debut at the US Open when it was last played at Bethpage Black in 2002, opened with a bogey, but then saved a fine par on second. Thereafter, he again bogeyed the third, saved par on fourth and then bogeyed three in a row from fifth to seventh and then just before rain stopped play, he parred the eighth.

Forced to go less than all-out on his drive, Jeev time and again found himself in the heavy and wet rough, from where recovery has been rather tough.

Jeev is affected by a muscle injury suffered during the final round of the European Open three weeks ago. “It seemed fine then, but became bothersome at the Celtic Manor Wales Open, where I played the last round in agony (he finished tied sixth). But a week’s rest and some physiotherapy has helped me to get better for US Open. But getting into the heavy rough will make things difficult for me,” said Jeev before his first round.

Little-known Jeff Brehaut, first to go out in the morning, was one-under through 13 holes, as were Swede Johan Edfors (after four), Andrew Parr of Canada (after three) and American Ryan Spears after three.

Tiger Woods parred the first four and then double bogeyed the fifth. However a birdie saw him claw back to one-over by the end of the sixth.

Other players hit by big scores due to weather were Rory Sabbatini and Padraig Harrington, both four-over after nine and six holes. Jeev, Luke Donald and Chad Campbell were among those at five-over.

The heavy rains resulted in water-logging at some of the greens and officials brought in no less than 90 squeegees to soak them and clean the greens. But there seemed little chance of play resuming for the next few hours, though the USGA officials were hopeful of at least some play later in the evening.

One of the worst hit holes seemed to be the finishing par-four 18th, which has been built on a swamp and looked unplayable at time. Also affected was first. If the balls were to get imbedded in the 18th fairway, players will be allowed a free drop, but that in itself could be a problem in the presence of casual water all around.

The last time the US Open went into a Monday was in 1983, when Larry Nelson won at Oakmont.

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