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U.S. OPEN

Start to finish, Oakmont is the winner

Day 1: Leader Dougherty one of two under par

June 18, 2007|Chris Dufresne

How it played: Not as tough, at least in the morning, as some of the experts predicted.

The gods tossed the golfers a welcoming gift with a tournament-eve thunderstorm that softened the course enough that two players in the 156-player field actually broke par. You had to get there early, though. Nick Dougherty, an Englishman of little repute, used his morning tee time to card a two-under 68, and early riser Angel Cabrera of Argentina shot one-under 69. Only four players shot par or better -- and all played in the morning.

Tiger Woods, who missed the cut last year at Winged Foot, was one of 16 players who stayed in the first-day mix at one-over 71.

Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy also shot 71.

Phil Mickelson, playing despite a left wrist that he injured while practicing at Oakmont, grimaced his way through a gutsy round of four-over 74. With all the rough he played out of -- Mickelson hit only five of 14 fairways -- he could have used a hatchet in his bag.

Saw it coming: The swarming crowds. Folks in Western Pennsylvania love their golf and flocked to the first U.S. Open played at Oakmont Country Club since 1994. The first-day crowd was 47,163.

More than 5,000 fans a day are getting their pictures taken next to a replica of the U.S. Open trophy near the main entrance to the club.

Didn't see it coming: David Toms was cruising in his opening round, leading the tournament at three under through 12 holes. Oakmont's not so tough, right? Toms played his last six holes at five over par to finish two-over 72.

"I was playing very well," Toms said afterward. "Then all of a sudden I wasn't playing so well."

Quote of the day: From Dougherty, the first-round leader: "This course is barbaric!"

-- Chris Dufresne

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