By Mark Lamport-Stokes
OAKMONT, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Little-known American Andrew Landry upstaged the game’s biggest names by seizing an early three-shot lead at the U.S. Open on Thursday as play was twice suspended due to threatening weather.
PGA Tour rookie Landy, competing for the first time in the year’s second major championship, piled up five birdies in 13 holes on a rain-softened layout at Oakmont Country Club outside Pittsburgh to get to five under in the opening round.
Twice Masters champion Bubba Watson was one of four players bunched at two under, the American left-hander having mixed five birdies with three bogeys after 10 holes.
Also at two under were England’s Lee Westwood, after nine holes, New Zealand’s Danny Lee, after eight, and American Bryson DeChambeau, after seven.
DeChambeau was playing in the same group as defending champion Jordan Spieth, who was a frustrated figure when the horn sounded for a second time to halt play 12:07 p.m. ET (1607 GMT) as thunder rumbled overhead.
The American world number two, level for the day after offsetting a birdie at the par-five 12th with a bogey at the par-four 14th, had just watched his approach into 17 spin back a good 40 feet before rolling into the right greenside bunker.
“You’ve got to be kidding me! How is that in the bunker. That’s such crap!” Spieth grumbled to himself moments before the horn sounded to suspend play.
Making matters even worse for Spieth was that he and his playing partners, DeChambeau and British Open Zach Johnson, had been warned by a rules official to pick up their pace of play as they walked off the 16th tee, their seventh hole of the day.
Among the other big names at Oakmont, world number three Rory McIlroy was two over after eight holes and 2014 U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer level after nine.
Thursday’s opening round was already likely to spill over into Friday after an earlier weather delay of just over an hour and a quarter while a line of storms that brought about half an inch of rain (1.27 cm) passed through the area.
The treacherous Oakmont layout, known for its lightning-fast greens and sloping contours, had been softened by more than an inch of rain overnight and further thunderstorms have been for Friday afternoon.
(Editing by Larry Fine)