June 17, 2010 by Post Team
US Open Golf:Pebble Beach, California – The U.S. Open 110th teed off at Pebble Beach on Thursday, the cliff scenery and the same, but totally different golf landscape since the triumph of 15 strokes of Tiger Woods 10 years ago.
Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark, three times winner of European Tour champion, whose bold style could be just the thing for the U.S. Open, had a quick start with birdies on the third, fourth and sixth to make the turn high classification in three under par.
The early starters, teeing off the coast as the clouds gave way to sunny skies, also included Masters champion Phil Mickelson, looking for the second stage of the Grand Slam after his victory at Augusta and a first victory U.S. Open after five second places.
Mickelson, playing with Padraig Harrington of Ireland and the South Korean champion Yang Yong-eun PGA, began in the 10th and opened with six pairs before bogeys at 16, 17 and 18 – which was in the water.
Harrington was two more and after three bogeys from the 15th directly to offset an early birdie and Yang was more than four to eight holes.
Woods, who stunned his rivals with a 15-stroke victory U.S. Open here in 2000, is an unknown quantity after a season that began amid the scandal.
He is playing just his fifth tournament of the 2010 season, missed the cut in one and another did not finish due to a painful swelling in the neck, which he has not fully healed.
Woods was playing the number three in England’s Lee Westwood and Ernie Els at 1:36 pm (20:36 GMT), while about the same time – 13:47 (20:47 GMT) Rory Northern Ireland McIlroy, the Japanese teen sensation Ryo Ishikawa and timeless Tom Watson were to tee off on the 10th.
“It’s a great partnership, obviously,” Els said of his group. “I think if we have a bit of momentum in the group as a whole, I really could drag others in the group. So yes, we’ll be looking at each other.”
While the tour of the picturesque has been praised throughout the week, all 156 golfers in the field waiting for a classic challenge U.S. Open.
“I think it is better to set the U.S. Open I’ve seen,” said Mickelson. “The only area of concern I have is green. They are so small and are so firm that, since there is no rain forecast, I’m certainly concerned that we could be 14 potential seventh hole at Shinnecck if you’re not careful. ”
The par three sessions at Shinnecck in 2004 was so dry the last round that balls were out of it, prompting officials to water in the middle of the round.
Woods noted the speed of the fairways.
“I’m probably just going to hit a handful of drivers out here,” he said. “The golf course is getting fast. Some of the holes which are believed to affect driver, three wood is starting to become an option. These streets are starting to get very fast.”
Most players have predicted a repetition of the Woods 12-win total of 2000 is not in the cards.
“I think the firmness of the greens are going to leave the scoring to be real low,” said American Steve Stricker.
But Harrington insisted that even par will not win the tournament.
“Every time he meets a green out here’s a birdie opportunity,” said Harrington. “The greens are small and limited in that the pins can be. So I think we’ll see more birdies this week.”
Harrington noted that Gil Morgan reached 10 under par at the U.S. Open here in 1992.
“If you play golf well, let’s create a lot of chances and it was someone from here will do that,” Harrington said.
But Morgan, who was 10-under through 43 holes this year, back nine in his next seven holes before falling to Tom Kite in the wind swept the final round tomorrow.
That year was a perfect example of the two sides of Pebble Beach, where fickle weather can dramatically affect coastal course.
Competition USGA officials promised President Tom O’Toole ensure a fair test, regardless of the weather.
“This golf course does not leave us,” he said.
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