Welcome to our live blog of the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club. As the words “live blog” indicate, we’ll be updating this repeatedly throughout the tournament, so keep hitting refresh.
8:20: The final group is in the clubhouse, and that includes DeForest, who turned in a double bogey on 18 and finished at even-par 71. With everyone done for the day, we’ll take a break here on the blog as well. Come back to the Early Lead tomorrow for more of the live blogging as the Open continues in the morning.
8:00: Looks like there are still two more groups out on the course, one on 18 and another on 17. Best score still out there? Christopher DeForest, who just went birdie-birdie on 16 and 17 to get to 2-under. DeForest joins six others in a tie for fourth, four shots behind McIlroy.
7:50: Luke Donald on his round and staying in contention: “Certainly, at 3-over, I’m not out of it. Everyone knows that it’s only going to get tougher and if I can plug away and shoot some good scores coming in, I’m still right there. Little bit discouraging that I didn’t play like I felt like I could play, but I’ll go out and find something on the range and get back tomorrow.”
7:40: McIlroy on how he approaches tomorrow: “Yeah, I don’t think I should be trying to do anything differently tomorrow than I did today. You know, I wasn’t thinking I didn’t go out there thinking about shooting any sort of a score. I just went out there to try and play really good golf, stick to my game plan, stick to the clubs I’m going to hit off tees and all that. I think keeping a quiet mind, I’m sort of taking my mind off what’s going on here, watch a movie or just try and completely forget about what I’ve done today and start fresh tomorrow. That’s really what I meant.”
7:35: Charl Schwartzel on his round and starting strong: “It’s always it’s a long way to go. But it’s nice to get yourself in contention. It makes your work almost less. If you start falling too far behind on a tough golf course, things can get a little bit too far in front of you. So you need to stay in there with a chance. Like I said, it’s a long way to go.”
7:30: Sergio Garcia on his round: “It was nice to start like that. Obviously it is disappointing to finish it the way I did after the birdie on 17. I hit two nice shots on 18. Overall I think it was a nice round to start with. There’s still a long way to go. We haven’t done anything yet.”
7:25: Another good fact from Gene Wang (@gene_wang), via twitter: Last year 13 players shot par or under in first round at Pebble Beach. That number swelled to 23 at Congressional today.
7:25: McIlroy on Phil: “Obviously Phil struggled a little bit today with his swing and with his game, but like Phil always does, he keeps himself in it with great saves. It looked like at a point he could have let the round get away from him, but he still ended up shooting 73 or 74 or whatever it was, so he’s definitely not out of this tournament.”
7:20: Brandt Snedeker and Robert Rock are at 1-under through 17, while David May is 1-under through 15 and Christopher Deforest is 1-under throughs 14.
7:08: Cindy Boren (@cindyboren) sends this picture along via twitter. A kid behind McIlroy during an interview: See? Squirrelly. And he made his eyebrows dance like Astaire. #usopen http://lockerz.com/s/111328881
7:05: From Gene Wang: Phil Mickelson made double bogey on his first hole, which was No. 10. Two of the last U.S. Open winners have started with a double bogey: Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines in 2008 and Lucas Glover at Bethpage in 2009.
7:00: Rory McIlroy on his 6-under 65: “Yeah, it was a good round of golf. I didn't really put a foot wrong. The only mistake I made was missing the green on 14, and I held a nice sort of 15-footer for par there. Apart from that it was pretty much stress-free golf. It was nice. I feel like I'm driving it well. I'm hitting my iron shots good, holing a few putts. So it's a nice combination.”
6:55: From Gene Wang on the course: Even the heaviest rain of the day couldn't scatter the gallery around the No. 9 green, where the group that included Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy received the loudest ovation of the afternoon on its final hole. Mickelson tipped his cap as he walked onto the green, and McIlroy flashed a wide smile after cleaning up his putt for par that left him alone in the lead at 6-under 65
6:50: Masters champ Schwartzel is in at a 3-under 68, six shots behind the leader. He’s tied for second with Y.E. Yang.
6:45: USA Today columnist Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) tweets that it’s the fourth consecutive major in which McIlroy has held or shared a lead at some point.
6:45: Sergio Garcia is in at 2-under, tied for third and seven shots back of McIlroy.
6:40: Some quick quotes from McIlroy on ESPN: “I just feel comfortable on this course,” he said amid a longer quote my fingers weren’t fast enough to type. Asked if he’d go home tonight with peace of mind: “I’m going home tonight with a pretty quiet mind. I’ve shot a really good score today but I have to come back and back that up tomorrow.”
6:30: Phil’s birdie putt stops just inches shy of the cup. Not much went right for Phil today, as he’s into the clubhouse at 3-over. Dustin Johnson finishes his round at 4-over. McIlroy closes with a par and is in with a 6-under 65.
6:27: According to the U.S. Open website’s leaderboard, Phil has hit four of 13 fairways. Will be interested to see the update when he finishes his round. Also, it’s now raining at Congressional. The umbrellas are out.
6:22: And now Sergio has moved back into a tie for second with a birdie on 17. He’s at 3-under through 17, joining Yang and Schwartzel three back of McIlroy.
6:16: By the way, Phil bogeyed that hole and drops to 3-over through 17. Meanwhile, Schwartzel has moved into a tie for second at 3-under.
6:05: Amazingly, Phil found a bunker...on the wrong hole. His shot got out of the bunker, through the trees and...into a bunker on the right hole.
6:02: It’s amazing how consistently Phil is missing fairways. He’s back in the trees on eight, right now I don’t think anyone is even sure where the ball landed. Let’s see if he can get out of this mess again.
6:00: As McIlroy continues to put distance between himself and the field atop the leaderboard, here’s where some others stand: Sergio Garcia is still at 2-under, tied for third, through 15. Rory Sabbatini, who at one point shared the lead, is at 1-under through 12. Rickie Fowler is even through 12, while Phil has taken a tour of pretty much every rough on the course but is hanging in at 2-over par. Masters champion Charls Schwartzel is at 1-under through 14. Dustin Johnson is 4-over through 15.
5:45: McIlroy’s eagle putt just rolls to the left of the cup. A tap-in for birdie and he goes to 6-under par. McIlory actually a little frustrated for missing the eagle putt, and that’s indicative of the confidence he’s shown all day.
5:40: McIlroy’s second shot on six will give him a 10-to-12 foot putt for eagle. It’s been an outstanding round from McIlroy. Just a lot of fun to watch.
5:25: Sergio bogeyed 14 and dropped into third at 2-under par. McIlroy at 5-under and Y.E. Yang at 3-under are one-two on the leaderboard.
5:20: In the newsroom we are still trying to figure out where exactly Sergio is right now. He’s not on the fairway, we can confirm that.
5:14: McIlroy rips an outstanding tee shot right down the middle of the fairway on five. Phil, meanwhile, continues his do-it-the-hard-way round by sending his tee shot deep “into the spinach,” as one editor said.
5:05: McIlroy taps in the birdie putt just inside the left edge. He moves to 5-under par and has a two-shot lead on the rest of the field.
5:00: McIlroy with an outstanding shot out of the fringe rough from about 135 yards that rolls back to within about three to four feet of the pin. Already in sole possession of the lead, he’ll have a chance for birdie to move to 5-under.
4:55: After a birdie to pull to 1-over, Phil comes right back and bogeys to drop back to 2-over through 12. Phil has managed to stay in things despite an up-and-down day, but he found himself in trouble again on the third, chipped out of the deep rough, but couldn’t save par.
4:45: Chez Reavie is in the clubhouse at 1-under par and he’s playing without an ACL...really. Also, Phil’s wacky day has continued. He goes off to the left and onto the cart path on his tee shot then goes way right and is in the deep rough.
4:35: Phil birdies two and goes to 1-over through 11. Sergio with a birdie on 11 to move into second at 3-under tied with Yang and Sabbatini.
4:23: McIlroy with his third straight birdie and he is alone atop the leaderboard at Congressional at 4-under. Just before that, Phil missed left of the cup on a 10-footer for birdie and settles for par again.
4:15: An update on the 29-year-old man who went into cardiac arrest at Congessional on Thursday morning. The condition of the man is not known at this time.
4:13: Plenty of reasons to root for McIlroy, who was as gracious as possible after his implosion on the Masters. Check out these stories on the 22-year-old: Sally Jenkins’ column on learning from failure, and Barry Svrluga on McIlroy’s trip to Haiti.
4:03: Phil’s chip from the fringe for birdie just misses and he settles for par on 18; he remains 2-over. McIlroy birdies 18 with an outstanding putt to take a share of the lead at 3-under.
4:00: This is Paul Tenorio stepping in for Cindy Boren to continue today’s live blog of the U.S. Open. I’ll try to keep you as updated as Cindy did on the leaderboard, how Phil is doing and probably some fashion-related observations because we all know how much everyone loves cowboy hats (more on that to come) and plaid pants.
3:45: McIlroy birdies 17 to get to 2-under. Phil’s birdie attempt on 17 stays on the lip; he remains 2-over. F. Molinari bogeys No. 7 to drop out of the lead and back to 2-under.
Gregory Havret playing with a heavy heart after the loss of his father; finishes with 77.
3:30 p.m.: With birdies on 12, 13 and 14, Rory Sabbatini has moved into a share of the lead with Francesco Molinari and Y.E. Yang.
3:24 p.m.: On 16, Phil Mickelson’s madcap tour of Congressional continues. After smacking the ball into the timber and ... over into the rough, he managed to save par on the hole. “A real Phil par,” as one ESPNner put it.
Among afternoon golfers who aren’t struggling, Francesco Molinari remains at 3-under and Sergio Garcia is at 2-under. Rory McIlroy, putting for birdie, leaves a 25-footer just a bit short. He’s at 1-under through six.
Rewinding for a bit, Fred Funk finished with a 4-over 75.
3:06 p.m.: Phil Mickelson just missed with a truly awful putt attempt. He just missed a four-footer for birdie at 15; because the U.S. Open is nothing if not an adventure where he’s concerned, he managed to make the putt for par. Still at 2 over.
2:40 p.m.: Mickelson update
Phil hit his tee shot dead left on No. 14. He hit a provisional, but by some miracle they found his ball in knee-high growth. He chopped out and has 20 feet left for par. Looks like he’s heading back to +2. Update: Phil bogeyed. He’s at +2.
2:33 p.m.: After a par on the third hole, Francesco Molinari, birdied No. 4. For those keeping score, that’s three birdies in through four holes. He’s now tied with Yang for the lead.
After his double on No. 10, Mickelson has gone birdie-par and is at +1.
Rory McIlroy, playing with Mickelson and Dustin Johnson (+3), birdied 12 and is at -1; Sergio Garcia birdied No. 2 and is also at -1; A few minutes ago Rick ie Fowler hit a rocket of a putt that hit the back lip, popped up, hit the back lip again and dropped in. He’s also at -1.
2:08 p.m.: There was an element of luck in play for Y.E. Yang, as he took the U.S. Open lead at mid-day.
“The weather helped out because it rained this morning. The greens got softer. It’s coming up quite rapidly right now. So I think the next three days, if the weather is going to hold up like this, it’s going to be probably difficult for me as is anybody else,” Yang said. “But right now I guess it was a strike of short roughs and some good luck on weather.
“Actually I might have to eat my words on the easy set up. I think it’s more because of the weather. It’s just great timing for me. The greens were softer than it is right now in the morning. So I think it was more of luck than of what the USGA did for me.”
2:04 p.m.: Francesco Molinari opened with a birdie-birdie and jumped into second place and Dustin Johnson double-bogeyed No. 11 (par 4, 494 yards).
1:38 p.m.: Phil gets wet.
What a start for Phil Mickelson. Starting at the 10th tee — Marc Turnesa warned the afternoon guys! — Mickelson sent his first shot straight into the water.
Mickelson finished with a double-bogey on the the 199-yard par-3 hole.
1:27 p.m.: It wasn’t a good day to be one of the top three players in the world. Luke Donald, the top-ranked player, and Martin Kaymer, the third-ranked player, finished with 3-over 74s; Lee Westwood, the No. 2 player, finished at 75.
1:15 p.m.: With a 3-under 68, Y.E. Yang is now the U.S. Open leader in the clubhouse with Ryan Palmer still on the course and falling back. Update: Palmer finished with a 69.
Bubba Watson dropped from the lead with a bogey on No. 7 (his 16th hole). There’s now a four-way tie among Watson, Johan Edfors, Davis Love III and Louis Oosthuizen, in with a 69, for second.
1:02 p.m.: With birdies on No. 3, 4, 5 and 6, Bubba Watson has charged into a share of the lead with Ryan Palmer and Y.E. Yang, at 3-under.
Davis Love III is alone in second at 2-under; Cink and Chez Reavie are the clubhouse leaders at 1-under. Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosterhuizen are among six golfers at 1-under.
12:56 p.m.: With the afternoon groups and Phil Mickelson teeing off, Chez Reavie, the leader in the clubhouse, said he didn’t think his 1-under would stand up and offered a warning.
“It won’t be in the lead, but it will be close enough for the lead,” Reavie told reporters. “Any time you’re under par it’s great. The rough is tough and the greens are getting firmer and the wind is picking up. It’s going to be tough this afternoon.
12:52 p.m.: Marc Turnesa had a rough start, on the par-3 218-yard No. 10. He put his tee shot in the water and carded a 5: “It’s just a brutal hole to start on especially in the morning,” he said, via Gene Wang. “Nobody’s looking forward to that tee shot.”
In other unfortunate incidents, David Chung, a 21-year-old amateur from Stanford, hit his ball into the porta-potty compound from No. 9 (via Dave Sheinin).
12:45 p.m.: Y.E. Yang and Bubba Watson are moving up. Yang is tied with Ryan Palmer for the lead at 3-under and Watson is tied with Jeff Overton for second place, one stroke back.
Watson, one of the Golf Boys, is rocking camouflage pants today.
12:38 p.m.: Back-to-back birdies by Y.E. Yang on holes number 6 and 7 (his 15th and 16th of the day) put Yang at -3, tied with Pamler.
12:26 p.m.: Y.E. Yang and Brandt Jobe have moved into a tie with Johan Edfors and Jeff Overton for second, a stroke behind Ryan Palmer.
The leader in the clubhouse is Chez Reavie, with a 1-under 70.
11:57 a.m.: Chez Reavie, with a bogey on 17, drops to 1-under, leaving Johan Edfors and Jeff Overton tied for second behind Ryan Palmer.
11:36 a.m.: There’s been a shift atop the leaderboard: Ryan Palmer is now alone in the lead with a birdie at 10 to go to 3-under; Chez Reavie, Jeff Overton and Johan Edfors are at 2-under.
With two bogeys, Louis Oosthuizen is even; a gaggle of golfers is at 1-under.
11:32 a.m.: How are other notable golfers faring, you ask as you toil at your job or gambol about outdoors? Ernie Els and Davis Love III are at 1-under through 10; Stewart Cink, Paddy Harrington (both through 12), Lee Westwood (11) are even.
Fashion update! Dave Sheinin reports that Bubba Watson, one of the Golf Boys, is wearing camoflouge pants and carrying a pink-shafted driver.
11:25 a.m.: With a birdie at No. 15, Chez Reavie is tied with Louis Oosthuizen, Johan Edfors, Jeff Overton and Ryan Palmer atop the leaderboard. If you’re keeping track of these things, that’s three Americans, a Swede and a South African.
11:23 a.m.: A 30-year-old man went into cardiac arrest at Congressional and was taken to a local hospital.
10:58 a.m.: Louis Oosthuizen has joined Johan Edfors, Jeff Overton and Ryan Palmer atop the leaderboard. Oosthuizen, the British Open champion, is through 11 holes.
10:48 a.m.: With a bogey on No. 9, Johan Edfors slipped into a tie with Jeff Overton and Ryan Palmer at 2-under.
Luke Donald’s struggles continued; he had a double-bogeys No. 18, which was his ninth hole and had a 4-over 39. He was 6-over on the last six holes.
10:25 a.m.: Johan Edfors of Sweden is the leader at 3-under par through eight holes. Another Swede who’s in the same group with Edfors, Fredrik Jacobsen, is second at 2-under through
9:55 a.m.: Luke Donald, the No. 1 player in the world, is having his issues in the early going. He hit a poor approach on his eighth hole, No. 17, and, in his last five holes, has had three bogeys after two early birdies.
Kevin Streelman, one-time Ultimate Gamer, is tied for third.
9:35 a.m.: Starting on the 10th hole has proved to be a disaster for several players.
Of the first eight groups to tee off on the 218-yard par-3, only two threesomes managed to avoid the water and land all their balls safely on the green, Kathy Orton reports. In the cool morning air, the tee shots weren't traveling as far as the players expected.
The 7:55 a.m. group of Ryo Ishikawa, Anthony Kim and Y.E. Yang had a particularly bad start with both Ishikawa and Kim putting their tee shots into the pond at the front of the green.
After taking a drop, Kim and Ishikawa both two-putted for a double-bogey. Yang, the 2009 PGA Champion, landed his ball on the green and made the birdie putt.
9:08 a.m.: Happens every year about this time: Phil Mickelson has a birthday. He turns 41 today...and has a 1:35 p.m. tee time.
The downside of fashion: Webb Simpson wore a Lilly Pulitzer combination of a luminous green shirt and dazzling pink pants. Which made it easy to notice him when he put his tee shot in the water on No. 10 to start his round. Gah.
8:54 a.m.: Luke Donald, the world’s top-ranked golfer, and Stewart Cink were the very, very early leaders at 2-under par. Donald had played two holes, Cink three.
8:39 a.m.: Ernie Els, Davis Love III and Jim Furyk all faced birdie putts at No. 1 hole, but none of them converted. After crushing his tee shot and landing his approach within six feet, Love missed a birdie putt.
At the par 3 No. 2, Furyk and Els had bogeys; Love left a birdie putt on the lip and tapped in for par.
Important fashion note: Love is wearing bubblegum pink pants. Apparently he thinks he’s Ian Poulter.
8:23 a.m.: Graeme McDowell and Luis Oosthuizen, both of whom have won major championships, opened with bogeys. McDowell’s tee shot landed in fairway bunker on right side, then his approach got plugged just below lip of left greenside bunker, Gene Wang reports. McDowell, the defending Open champ, blasted to five feet but missed the comebacker for par.
K.J. Choi and Matt Kuchar made par on the No. 1 hole while the third member of their group, Paul Casey, missed a short par putt and tapped in for bogey.
Your latest Fred Funk update: He birdied the second hole.
(I don’t want to say that the opening holes of a golf tournament, even a major, are a little dull but ... the Golf Channel guys were talking about swimming and asked John Feinstein: “When was the last time you rocked a Speedo?”)
7:38 a.m.: The local darling of the U.S. Open is Fred Funk, the 55-year-old former Maryland golf coach who is likely playing in his last Open. Funk, with his son Taylor serving as caddie, was greeted with a huge ovation when he stepped onto the course, Gene Wang reports. He hit his tee shot perfectly down the right center of the fairway. He put his approach shot within 20 feet of the hole, but his putt for birdie went three feet past. Funk settles for par.
First birdie of the tournament? It went to Harrison Frazar, who promptly bogeyed the second hole.
And...now the rain is steady. Not significant enough to affect the players, but it will slow the fairways a bit. Wang tells me, “The greens are becoming more receptive.”
7:21 a.m.: Oof. Marc Turnesa, who was in the first group off the 10th tee on Thursday morning, had a, shall we say, less-than-spectacular opening to his U.S. Open, Kathy Orton. Turnesa, a 33-year-old PGA Tour player, was the third to hit on the par-3 218-yard hole and his ball plopped into the pond at the front of the green. He had to take a drop and, as if that weren’t bad enough, a light rain began to fall on him as he stood in the drop zone.
Filed at 6:50 a.m.
After a couple of weeks of hot, dry weather, a light rain is falling as the U.S. Open begins at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda.
There’d been some concern about the greens after a weather spell more suitable to August than early June. However, Mike Davis, the USGA executive director who is in charge of course setup for the Open, told Barry Svrluga on Wednesday that “we’re delighted with the greens right now,” Davis said. “… There’s no concern with the health of the greens long-term.”
The first groups tee off at 7 a.m. On the tee at the first hole: Dae-Hyun Kim, Chez Reavie and Shane Lowry; on the tee at the 10th hole: Chad Campbell, Harrison Frazar and Marc Turnesa. (Tee times and pairings for Thursday and Friday are here.)
A few notable early groups to watch: Matt Kuchar, Paul Casey and K.J. Choy on the No. 1 tee at 7:44 a.m.; Ernie Els, Davis Love III and Jim Furyk at 8:17. On the No. 10 tee, notable early groups are Paddy Harrington, Angel Cabrera and Stewart Cink at 7:44; Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer go at 8:06.
Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, tees off at 8:39 a.m.
Tiger checks in
Tiger Woods, without Steve Williams, is tweeting. Steve Williams, without Tiger, is working as Adam Scott’s caddie at the U.S. Open.
Last time I missed a USGA event Salt N Peppa was still cool and Whitehead was a toddler.
Woods amended part of that tweet — “Wait, Salt N Peppa is still cool!!” — but the part about missing a USGA event and Whitehead remain true.
Gregory Havret: Playing with a heavy heart
Boswell: As good as it gets
Jenkins: Congressional guarantees a thrilling finish
U.S. Open Central: Follow The Post
U.S. Open Channel: The Post’s videos from Congressional