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Some things haven't changed since 1994

June 15, 2007|Thomas Bonk

OAKMONT, PA. — The last time the U.S. Open came to Oakmont Country Club, in 1994, the scoring average for the first round was 75.2. So, 13 years later, 284 yards longer and with one shot lost to par, Oakmont yielded a scoring average Thursday of 75.3.

Oakmont's official length is 7,230 yards and its playing as a par 70 now instead of the par 71 when Ernie Els won in 1994, but regardless of the numbers, it's still capable of packing a wallop.

Two players -- Nick Dougherty and Angel Cabrera -- shot under par, with Dougherty's 68 in the morning leading the way. In 1994, Tom Watson's 68 was the low score, and eight others finished under par.

The three most difficult holes in the first round were the 484-yard par-four 18th with an average score of 4.64, the par-three eighth, which played at 260 yards, with an average of 3.52, and the 435-yard par-four 10th at 4.48.

There were only four birdies at the eighth, by Bubba Watson, Tom Pernice Jr., Arron Oberholser and Woody Austin. The tee on the eighth hole, which stretches out to 288 yards, was moved up because of the slightly damp conditions.

Watson, who is tied for third at even-par 70, took advantage of relatively soft greens from Wednesday night's downpour.

"I saw that even-par 70 was a great score and you could shoot that today," Watson said. "But today was a little damp, a little bit cool, everything playing a little bit softer, not a lot, but a little bit.

"It's playing just a touch easier, I guess, not as dramatic scores as everybody is predicting."

-- Thomas Bonk

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