U.S. Open squishes back to action

Spectators walk past a rain-soaked 18th green at the Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., Thursday. Play resumed today at the U.S. Open Golf Championship after rain washed out most of Thursday's first round.<BR><I>Associated Press</I>

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. - With the course still a bit soggy but playable, the rain-delayed U.S. Open resumed today amid hopes the first round would be completed by day's end.

Weather permitting, of course.

Bethpage Black took more than 1 inch of rain in a daylong downpour Thursday and remained squishy in some spots when players resumed the season's second major championship this morning.

Defending champion Tiger Woods started today by missing a 10-foot par putt at the seventh hole, sending him to 2 over, and after spraying a drive way right on the 10th hole he slammed his driver in disgust.

Justin Leonard posted two birdies quickly after play resumed and made the turn at 2 under. Just as quickly, he gave those shots back on the 10th, making a double-bogey and continuing an odd opening round. Through 10 holes, he only had one par on his card - at the very first hole.

Woods was among 78 players who had early wake-up calls today to resume the round they couldn't finish Thursday.

Jeff Brehaut, Johan Edfors, Andrew Parr and Ryan Spears all slept on the lead, such as it was, returning to Bethpage at 1 under, although of that group only Brehaut completed more than four holes before Day 1 play was halted.

Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and 2008 runner-up Rocco Mediate were in the half of the field that never got on the course Thursday. They were scheduled to finally tee it up around 10 a.m. today and if the weather held out - forecasters said there was only a slight chance of more rain during Day 2 - would start their second rounds sometime around 4 p.m.

Woods' side of the field will not start its second round until Saturday, when more rain is expected to pound the waterlogged course. The U.S. Open hasn't had a 72-hole Monday finish since 1983, but any significant interruption in play over the coming days would likely assure that no champion will be crowned on Sunday.

"If the forecast we've got right now for Saturday and so on were absolutely accurate ... yes, absolutely finishing on Sunday would be borderline impossible," said Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of rules and competition.

Masters winner Angel Cabrera and Ian Poulter were among those at even par when play resumed. Former U.S. Open champions Geoff Ogilvy, Jim Furyk and Michael Campbell were 1 over, Boo Weekley and Zach Johnson were 2 over and two-time defending British Open champion Padraig Harrington was 4 over.

When the U.S. Open was played at Bethpage in 2002, only Woods finished under par, completing the week at 3-under 277. So, not surprisingly, the course was tough for everyone Thursday, when bogeys outnumbered birdies by a 5-to-1.

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