June 18, 2009

Play Resumes At Bethpge Black

At 7:30 Friday morning 78 players took up their positions and resumed their opening round on a wet and soggy, but playable Bethpage Black

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- With the course still soggy but playable, the rain-delayed U.S. Open resumed Friday morning amid hopes that 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 shortly before 7:30 a.m.

Defending champion Tiger Woods' first shot Friday was a 10-foot par putt at the seventh hole. He missed it, settling for a bogey that pushed him to 2 over and three shots off the lead.

Woods was among 78 players who had early wake-up calls Friday 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. Friday 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 margin.

Except, that is, on Brehaut's card. He had two birdies and one bogey in his 11 holes Thursday, putting the 46-year-old in the surprising position of leaving Bethpage after Day 1 with his name atop the leaderboard.

"It's a long way to go," Brehaut said.