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Rory McIlroy looks out over the 17th green during the first round of the US Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Casey with additional coverage from Independent.ie Newsdesk

Rory McIlroy is well placed at the US Open after finishing his round with a birdie to card a 70 just before the game was interrupted due to poor light after a delayed start due to fog.

The score of the Ulsterman from an Under sees him in 11th place, three shots at clubhouse manager Russell Henley.

After McIlroy made the perfect start with a birdie in first place, McIlroy had to wait until the 7th to advance to -2 and ended up bogeying in 33. His back nine was more mixed with a dropped shot on ten that quickly recovered to 12 only to be immediately given away on par 5 13th.

Things seemed to take a turn for the worse after another bogey on 16 , but a great 20-foot par save on 17 was finally followed by another birdie in near-dark after a virtual sprint up the fairway to make sure his round was over.

“The birdie is fantastic”, McIlroy said after seeing his putt rattle the back of the cup and fall.

“I mean this putt was pretty, I thought it was straight, I’ll hit it straight and we’ll see.” / p> “But yeah, it was nice to get in, get an extra hour of sleep tonight and it was a bonus for birdie too.”

Brooks Koepka made an impressive start to his bid for a third US Open win in five years, but Phil Mickelson’s hopes of making the career gr and Slam suffered a massive blow.

Koepka, who won the title in 2017 and 2018 and finished second in 2019, carded an opening of two under par 69 in Torrey Pines, two shots behind the leader. </ p Former Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen was also four under and faced a birdie putt on his penultimate hole when play was interrupted due to darkness.

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Italian Francesco Molinari and Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello were a shot from the lead, but Mickelson struggled to 75 a month after becoming the oldest champion in history with his shock win in the US PGA. </ Koepka started on the second nine and hit the 12th, 17th and 18th birdie to hit the turn at 33 before another birdie on second put him in the lead with four unders.

A wild one Teeing off for the third cost the 31-year-old his first bogey of the day and another hit came on the seventh after a drawn drive that ended at the foot of a picnic bench where the crowd ate lunch.

“You can’t do it today win but you can definitely lose it, “said Koepka. “It was nice to get off to a good start, putted well, finished well on the second nine, my front.

After Koepka missed the US Open last year due to an injury, he has been astonishingly behind only one player since 2017 – 2019 winner Gary Woodland – in the event.

“I just have a good game plan, focused, I know what I’m doing and I’m not trying to do what I can’t,” he added. “The US Open is all about discipline. I think that’s the essential. “

Mickelson also started on the second nine after a 90-minute delay due to fog and dropped a punch on the 10th when he couldn’t get up and down a green bunker, his par attempt caught the edge of the hole and spun.

The six-time major winner was even more unfortunate on the 13th when his fourth shot at the 613-yard par five ricocheted off a bush after a penalty drop before hitting the pin and ricocheting off the green.

Mickelson did wise to limit the damage to a single shot by ricocheting to six feet and putting the putt, but another shot came after one on the 15th flawed drive.

A birdie on the 17th stopped the putref and Mickelson also found the green on par-five 18th in two, but could only make three putts out of 60 feet for par.

Mickelson dropped two more shots were fired at the top nine and admitted that he had trouble getting through numerous to avoid distractions from the spectators’ mobile phones.

“This is part of professional golf. You have to learn to deal with it, ”said Mickelson. “I don’t understand why you can’t just mute that little button on the side.

“ I probably didn’t use it as well internally as I had or as well as I had to. It’s part of the game out here at this level. I certainly didn’t do the best job of dealing with it. ”

Pre-tournament favorite Jon Rahm is two strokes off the lead after a 69, with Richard Bland, Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton shooting all 70, to sit at eye level while McIlroy and Marcus Armitage make a formidable tournament debut with a level par 71.

Open champions Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood finished one over par, but Justin Rose fought 78.

Rose at least made sure that his group – consisting of McIlroy and world number one Dustin Johnson – was able to reach 18th place and tee off before the game was interrupted and almost hit Sergio Garcia on the fairway.

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SHANE LOWRY recovered from a nightmarish triple bogey seven to work his way up to an opening 72 at the US Open in Torrey Pines.

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Leona Maguire felt at home as she continued her hot streak, firing a bogey-free 65 to share the early lead at the Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan.

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