Sat, Jun 14, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Extras Hicks, Streelman steal the show at US Open


LPGA golfer Yani Tseng of Taiwan reads a golf magazine during the first round of the US Open championship at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California, on Thursday.


Cast for bit parts, Kevin Streelman and Justin Hicks thrust themselves to center stage on Thursday as the unlikely first-round leaders of the 108th US Open golf championship.

Streelman, a US PGA Tour rookie playing in his first US Open, and Hicks, a Nationwide Tour player who missed the cut in his only previous Open appearance in 2004, fired three-under-par 68s for a one-shot lead in the second major of the season.

Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open champion, led a group of four players lying one adrift on two-under 69, alongside compatriot Stuart Appleby, Eric Axley and Rocco Mediate.

England’s Lee Westwood and two-time champion Ernie Els were among a group of five on one-under 70, where they were joined by Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, Australian Robert Allenby and amateur Rickie Fowler.

The day started with all eyes trained on Tiger Woods — testing his surgically repaired left knee in his first competitive round since the Masters — San Diego native son Phil Mickelson and Australian Adam Scott.

The top three in the world rankings teed off together in a marquee group that drew massive crowds around the par-71, 6,989m Torrey Pines South course.

The course is a favorite stomping ground of both Woods and Mickelson, who between them have won nine Buick Invitational titles here.

Woods, trying to add to his cache of 13 major titles despite a nearly nine-week layoff, opened with a double-bogey at the first hole and had another at 14 en route to a one-over 72.

Mickelson made the turn three-over, but coming home nabbed four birdies against one bogey for a 71. Scott, playing with a broken bone in his right hand, settled for a two-over 73.

Woods bounced back with birdies at the fourth, eighth and ninth to reach the turn at one-under, but after saving par at 12 and 13, dropped two at the par-four 14th.

He reached the green in two at the par-five 18th, but three-putted.

“I hit the ball pretty good all day, had a couple misses left, but just need to clean up the round just a little bit,” Woods said.

Mickelson, who capped his round with a birdie at the last, was pleased with even par, which put him in a group of seven players that also included England’s Luke Donald, Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Argentina’s Andres Romero.

It was a difficult day for three reigning major champions. Defending US Open champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina battled to an eight-over 79, British Open champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland carded a 78 and Masters champion Trevor Immelman settled for a four-over 75.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top