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Page last updated at 06:15 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 07:15 UK

Play called off at sodden US Open

US OPEN, Bethpage Black
Date: 18-21 June
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra (Saturday 2100 BST), live on BBC Radio 5 Live (Sun 2100 BST). Live text commentary on BBC Sport website and regular updates on BBC Radio 5 Live. Live on Sky Sports.
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The US Open is called off early on day one of the 109th US Open at Bethpage, New York
Heavy rain saturates an already waterlogged Bethpage Black course

Play in the 109th US Open was called off early on day one because of a waterlogged Bethpage Black course.

Officials suspended action after three hours and 16 minutes following sustained heavy rain before deciding no further play was possible in New York.

Half of the 156-man field had yet to start their rounds, with the first two groups out completing just 11 holes.

With heavy rain forecast for Friday, the second round will not be completed before Saturday morning.

Should the weather force any more delays, play could extend into Monday, which is usually reserved in case an 18-hole play-off is required.

"The USGA is firm on this, that we will not determine a national champion until we play 72 holes," said Mike Davis, senior director of rules and competitions at the United States Golf Association.

"So if that takes us to Monday or Tuesday, whatever."

The last regulation finish on a Monday at the US Open was 1983, while defending champion Tiger Woods beat fellow American Rocco Mediate at the first sudden death hole of last year's play-off to clinch his 14th major title.

606: DEBATE

US amateur Rickie Fowler got the year's second major under way at 0700 eastern time (1200 BST) on Thursday but just over three hours later the hooter sounded to call a suspension.

Bethpage has received rain on 30 of the last 45 days and the greens were becoming unplayable under puddles of water.

"The volume of rain falling was outpacing our ability to squeegee the greens," said Jim Hyler, chairman of the USGA championship committee.

After a further three-hour delay, play was finally abandoned for the day at 1855 BST.

"We may be looking at Saturday morning to get the second round finished, get the cut and go from there," added Hyler.

Americans Jeff Brehaut and Ryan Spears, Sweden's Johan Edfors and Canadian Andrew Parr were leading at one under with England's Ian Poulter and Argentina's Masters champion Angel Cabrera in a large group on level par.

Cabrera was playing in an illustrious group with Woods and Ireland's Padraig Harrington, the Open and USPGA champion.

Woods pulled his opening tee shot 50 yards into the rough before scrambling for par. He went on to double bogey the 5th and birdie the 6th for one over.

When play resumes at 0730 ET (1230 BST) on Friday, the world number one will have a par putt on the 7th green, after both he and Cabrera opted to play third shots from the sand after the horns blew to suspend the tournament.

"It was pretty wet and windy, it was a slow day," Woods said.

It doesn't look like this round was going in a very nice direction for me

Padraig Harrington

"We had to get in as many holes as we possibly could and we played more holes than we thought."

The out-of-sorts Harrington was four over after six holes, while Graeme McDowell, Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, Geoff Ogilvy and Paul Casey were in the bunch on one over alongside Woods.

"I'm on the back foot, so the best thing for me is to come back fresh tomorrow. It's a new start," said Harrington. "I've still got 66 holes of this tournament."

Casey, 31, the world number three who is chasing his maiden major, added: "Patience is paramount.

"You are going to have to deal with not only a very tough golf course but also some of the decisions that are being made, like not being able to lift, clean and place.

"That's going to be very difficult and you are going to have to be patient and expect some difficult lies and some mud-balls. That's the way it is. What does it say in the original rules? Play the ball as it lies."

England's Lee Westwood, who finished one shot off the play-off in third 12 months ago, was two over after five holes, while compatriot Luke Donald suffered a triple bogey and a double bogey in his first four holes after starting from the 10th to slide to five over.

David Horsey, another of the nine Englishmen in the field, was last of the 78 starters at 10 over after 10 holes of his first US Open.



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see also
US Open day one as it happened
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Casey set for US Open challenge
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Major champions lead US Open draw
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Wilson eager for US Open to begin
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Mickelson to compete in US Open
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Cancer fight for Mickelson's wife
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Woods plays down Mickelson 'feud'
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Harrington to donate USPGA cheque
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Clarke left to mourn wife's death
13 Aug 06 |  Golf
Woods pays tribute to late father
03 May 06 |  Golf


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