Rain showers washed away all hopes Merion Golf Club had of having its U.S. Open hosting experience go off without a hitch. Play was halted late Thursday evening after a weather-filled opening round.
Facing storm-related delays in the morning and mid-evening—the latter of which kept players in the clubhouse and pushed tee times back by more than four hours—the first day of the 2013 U.S. Open felt stilted and incomplete.
Seventy-eight golfers (26 groups) in total were left with holes still remaining and will be taxed with starting their mornings off at 7:15 a.m. ET for a long Friday.
The first round of the #USOpen will resume at 7:15 a.m. ET Friday.— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) June 14, 2013
Included in those players waking up bright and early is Day 1 leader Luke Donald, whose four-under score through 13 holes gives him a one-stroke lead over the field.
The 35-year-old Englishman navigated the treacherous terrain throughout his opening round, showing poise and accuracy on a day where so many showed so little. He carded five birdies against just one bogey during his first 13 holes, but he'll have the East Course's difficult stretch run to contend with on Thursday.
One man hoping Donald falters a bit is clubhouse leader Phil Mickelson, who is tied for second place at three under. Lefty played a mostly conservative round of golf with four birdies and one bogey, most importantly making sure not to card a high number.
Mickelson is joined at three under with Adam Scott, who made it through 11 holes before darkness crept in a little too far. The Masters winner was playing with Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, but bested the world's two top-ranked golfers for nearly the entire day.
Behind Mickelson among clubhouse leaders is Nicolas Colsaerts, whose score of 69 puts him in a nine-way tie for seventh place.
Here is a look at how the rest of the leaderboard shook out on a rain-soaked day in southeastern Pennsylvania:
Two of the most notable names missing, of course, are Scott's playing partners, Woods and McIlroy. While neither put himself out of contention on Thursday, both were probably more than happy to see the sky darken to regain their composure overnight.
Woods especially found himself scrambling through his first 10 holes.
The world's top-ranked golfer shot a two-over score before being sent to the clubhouse, carding four bogeys on the front nine against only two birdies. Throughout the round, Woods found himself in the rough off the tee—exactly the place you didn't want to be as rains turned already-deep rough into a marsh-like nightmare for golfers.
McIlroy scrambled a bit just like his playing partner, but he was able to keep himself at par despite some scares. The round saw McIlroy miss easy putts, find green-side bunkers and do plenty of other things that would have made him crumble this time a year ago. Though he can't be thrilled about the way he played overall, McIlroy is still tied for 16th.
In other words, he'll take it.
That being said, the story of Round 1 of the U.S. Open is not about McIlroy or Woods—even though most of the Twittersphere would enjoy that. The world's best duo are still in contention should they finish out strong in Round 1, but the players who navigated Thursday's difficult conditions deserve credit for their accomplishments.
The U.S. Open not only dealt the players one of the toughest courses in the world, but also a rain that ruined their rhythm, played daylong mind games and made conditions nearly unbearable.
Mickelson's round was especially inspired. The 42-year-old fan favorite managed to stay on top of his game even after the rain delay, finishing up his round under par during the worst possible conditions of the day.
While things got a bit easier in the afternoon—all but two of the under-par scores heading into Friday are from the afternoon wave—there is no shortage of players whose scorecards deserve applause. Here is a look at all the hole-by-hole scorecards of every player under par through Thursday's rain-shortened action.
Complete Scorecards for Round 1 Leaders
*Under-par scores are bolded and italicized. Bogeys are bolded. Scores worse than bogey are bolded and underlined.
1. Luke Donald (-4, Thru 13)
T-2. Phil Mickelson (-3, F)
T-2. Adam Scott (-3, Thru 11)
T-4. Webb Simpson (-2, Thru 8)
T-4. Alistair Presnell (-2, Thru 6)a
T-4. Mathew Goggin (-2, Thru 6)
T-7. Nicolas Colsaerts (-1, F)
T-7. Lee Westwood (-1, Thru 13)
T-7. Peter Hedblom (-1, Thru 11)
T-7. Estanislao Goya (-1, Thru 11)
T-7. Chris Williams (-1, Thru 10)
T-7. Carl Pettersson (-1, Thru 10)
T-7. Steven Alker (-1, Thru 6)
T-7. Gavin Hall (-1, Thru 5)
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