Storms soften Oakmont and stop the U.S. Open

OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) — The latest from the U.S. Open golf championship (all times local):

Storms soften Oakmont and stop the US Open
DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer

OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) — Even a rain-soaked Oakmont didn't keep the U.S. Open from delivering its usual dose of frustration.

Just not the kind anyone expected.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, who had spent five days preparing on the firm and fiery greens of Oakmont, posed over a wedge into the 17th that landed behind the hole, spun back and kept rolling until it trickled down a slope into the bunker.

"You've got to be KIDDING me! How is that in the bunker?" Spieth said before slinging his club toward the bag.

Masters champion Danny Willett sat in a cabin behind the seventh tee for more than an hour as his group waited out the first of three rain delays. When the weather cleared, players were sent back onto the course without having a chance to warm up again.

"You're in a U.S. Open, they don't give you a chance to even hit a few balls," Willett said, and he wasn't alone in that observation.

Most frustrating of all?

Only nine players finished the first round, and 78 players didn't even tee off. Play was to resume at 7:30 a.m. Friday.

It was the worst rain delay in a U.S. Open since no one finished the opening round at Bethpage Black in 2009 in a tournament that ended on a Monday.

The first round was suspended for third and final time just as 28-year-old qualifier Andrew Landry was finishing up a dream round in his U.S. Open debut. Coming off two straight bogeys, Landry drilled his approach to about 10 feet on the par-4 ninth when the horn sounded as a violent storm approached. He was at 3-under par.

"I was trying to get it in," Landry said. "But it's hard when you've got a couple of 60-footers out here. And it's the U.S. Open. So you've just got to be patient with it."

He wasn't the only player to make a quick impression in his first U.S. Open. On the short list of players who finished was Scottie Scheffler, who just finished his sophomore year at Texas and opened with a 69.

"I feel pretty good. It hasn't really sunk in yet," he said. "There's definitely some scores out there to be shot. We're used to playing short to all these pins, and now we've got to worry about controlling our spin. And you've really, really got to be on the fairway to attack these pins again."

Willett, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler could not get off the course soon enough. They played in the same group and were a combined 14 over through 13 holes. Fowler has missed the cut in three of his last five events.

It was evident immediately how much the rain affected the course. Denny McCarthy, the first to hit a shot in the 116th U.S. Open, struck what he thought was a good approach to No. 1. The fairway slopes sharply downhill to a green that runs away from players, and the typical play is to land it some 25 yards short and let it run onto the green and, hopefully, have it stay there. His shot stopped short of the green.

But while the greens were soft, they still were quick as ever.

Starting on No. 10, Bryon DeChambeau had a 40-foot birdie attempt that didn't stop until it was some 35 feet beyond the hole.

Two holes later, Spieth hit a wedge that checked up about 10 feet short of the hole and then trickled a few inches toward the cup. And it didn't stop. Turn by turn, the ball kept moving until it settled 2 feet away. Even then, Spieth gave the putt great care and rolled in it.

"It's nice to know if I miss it, I'm chipping," Spieth said walking off the green.

There was still enough excitement, with Lee Westwood holing out with a wedge on the 14th hole, Danny Lee holing out from the fairway on No. 6 and McCarthy getting it on the act with a hole-out from the 11th fairway.

Lee was at 2 under through 13 holes, along with Bubba Watson, who made only two pars in his opening holes. Watson has never played the U.S. Open very well, except at Oakmont. He tied for fifth in 2007.

Westwood, Kevin Streelman and Harris English were at 1 under on various parts of the course.

DeChambeau, who won the U.S. Amateur last year and had to qualify for the Open because he turned pro, was among the early leaders until two holes set him back.

His shot out of deep rough in the 18th fairway squirted low and left and into a bunker, and his third shot banged off the grandstand, leading to double bogey. On his next shot at No. 1, he pushed right and into the bushes. Then, he hit a provisional shot into deep rough on the left. DeChambeau was spared by finding his ball. It was unplayable, so he was allowed to go back to the tee. He hit the fairway and limited the damage to a double bogey.

DeChambeau had to get out of the Church Pew bunkers for his final shot of the day, and he rode quietly in a cart across the bridge over the Pennsylvania Turnpike and back toward the clubhouse, the end of a long day.

The longest day of all belonged to the likes of Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and the other half of the field that didn't even play. And they faced an even longer day Friday that for some could mean 36 holes at Oakmont.

3:45 p.m.

Andrew Landry started off hot but cooled down in a hurry after returning from the second rain delay of Round 1. The U.S. Open rookie, rated No. 624 in the world, reached 5 under after three birdies in a row before following up a pair of missed short putts for birdies with back-to-back bogeys. He still held the lead at 3 under, though, teeing off on his final hole of the day.

Bryson DeChambeau, out on Tour after a stellar amateur career, went as low as 3 under before he, too, got reeled in by punishing Oakmont. DeChambeau made consecutive double bogeys and slipped to 1 under.

Taking his spot in the hunt was Bubba Watson and Danny Lee, both a stroke behind Landry at 2 under.

2:35 p.m.

The off-again, on-again first round of the U.S. Open is ... on again, with little-known Andrew Landry pulling away from the pack. Ranked No. 624 in the world and playing in his first national championship, the 28-year-old Texan was at 5 under after three straight birdies and missing a 7-foot birdie putt at No. 7.

At least those golfers struggling to find a rhythm got a break after the second delay. This time, they were given enough time to get back to the practice range. More than a few complained after they were sent back out on the course immediately after the first delay, which spanned 1 hour, 19 minutes. The second delay lasted 2 hours, 26 minutes.

Bubba Watson was part of the four-player pack pursuing Landry at 2 under.

1:25 p.m.

The only suspense at the U.S. Open during another rain delay is whether it will cool off unheralded Andrew Landry. A few other players, meanwhile, will need to cool down after rough patches on Oakmont's treacherous greens.

In a mid-round interview, the 28-year-old Texan was asked if he could match or better Johnny Miller's record-low round of 63 in a major.

"Gosh, that would be pretty awesome," he said. "I've got four tough holes coming up, it will be hard to make a couple of birdies but you never know."

Landry, ranked No. 624 in the world, leads the U.S. Open at 5 under after making three straight birdies and will have a 7-foot putt on No. 7 for a fourth when play resumes.

Jordan Spieth, meanwhile, could use the delay to cool down. He was frustrated after a near-perfect approach shot on the 17th hole — his eighth hole of the day — rolled all the way across the green and trickled down into a bunker.

"You've GOT to be kidding me! How is that in the bunker!" he yelled.

12:08 p.m.

Bad weather appears to be the only thing that can slow Andrew Landry, the U.S. Open rookie who zoomed out to 5 under and claimed the lead in Round 1. The second suspension of play because of fast-moving storms — some with lightning bursts — sent players and fans scrambling for cover.

Landry, ranked No. 624 in the world, was playing No. 5 on his second nine of the day when the weather alert horn sounded.

11:50 a.m.

Andrew Landry is having a U.S. Open debut to remember.

The 28-year-old Texan returned from the 1 hour, 19-minute rain delay by making a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 3. It was his fourth birdie of the round against no bogeys, and Landry at 4 under had opened a two-shot lead.

Landry is a rookie on the PGA Tour after getting his card through the Web.com Tour last year. He is coming off his best finish of the year, a tie for 41st in the FedEx St. Jude Classic last week. That helps explain why he is No. 624 in the world ranking.

According to the PGA Tour, Landry once shot 58 on his home course, a nine-hole track called "Pea Patch" in Groves, Texas. The course played 6,300 yards and has since closed down.

11:23 a.m.

Play resumed at the U.S. Open after an hour, 19-minute rain delay that produced a few awkward moments.

When the wave of storms swept across Oakmont, golfers were taken off the course to the nearest shelter, which for some of them meant going to the media center.

Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer headed to media dining to watch Euro 2016.

But it led to one peculiar policy. Media are not allowed in the locker room during rain delays. As a reporter was having a casual conversation with Marc Leishman, a USGA official politely cut off the conversation because the media center was considered the locker room.

"Mate, we're fine, just having a chat," Leishman said, but to no avail.

Russell Knox was happy to have shelter. Walking into the door, a security guard stopped him and asked for his credentials.

"I'm a player," Knox said.

10:15 a.m.

A second wave of rainstorms swept across Oakmont Country Club early in Round 1, forcing a suspension of play. Surprise leader Andrew Landry, a Web.com Tour player ranked No. 624 in the world, was among the few golfers to take advantage of the softer conditions. He was at 3 under, leading four others at 2 under.

9:48 a.m.

Andrew Landry was shining early at Oakmont, even if the sun wasn't.

Ranked No. 624 in the world and playing in his first U.S. Open after surviving local qualifying in Memphis, Landry led four other golfers at 2 under after an impressive 33 on his first nine. While overnight rains softened Oakmont's fairways, and overcast skies kept them that way, the inch of rain did little to slow down the treacherous greens.

Also at 2-under in the early going were Kevin Streelman, Danny Lee and Lee Westwood.

7:55 a.m.

More than an inch of rain that fell overnight washed away a little of the trepidation at Oakmont.

The U.S. Open began on a course that was softer than it has been all week as players feared no one would break par by the end of the week. Aron Price of Australia was in the first group and rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the opening hole.

More telling was Denny McCarthy. His approach on No. 1 stopped short of the green. That's rare because the fairway is downhill to a super slick green that runs away from the player.

Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy were among those playing in the morning.

More thunderstorms were in the forecast for the afternoon.