Pair shoot 66; Duval staggers to 83

Updated: June 18, 2004, 9:00 AM ET
Associated Press

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- No wind at Shinnecock Hills?

That's about as likely as a 50-year-old grabbing a share of the lead at the U.S. Open.

First Round Completed
Angel Cabrera completed his rain-delayed first round with a 4-under 66 to tie Jay Haas and Shigeki Maruyama for the lead at the U.S. Open.

Cabera, 4-under through 12 holes when fog stopped play Thursday night, birdied the 14th hole to grab the outright lead, but dropped back with a double-bogey at the 15th. He birdied the par-5 16th to grab a share of the lead at Shinnecock Hills.

Moving up the leaderboard was 1995 champ Corey Pavin, who birdied the fifth (his 14th hole) and eighth holes (his 17th) to get to 3-under. He is alone in fourth place through 18 holes.

Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh completed opening-round 68s. Mike Weir completed a first-round 69.

-- ESPN.com

Jay Haas, two weeks removed from his runner-up finish at the Senior PGA Championship, took advantage of a surprisingly calm day on the links-styled course reputed for its whipping winds. With birdies at both par 3s on the back nine, he shot 4-under 66 that left him tied for the clubhouse lead with Shigeki Maruyama.

Angel Cabrera of Argentina also was 4 under through 13 holes when the first round, already delayed by storms in the area, was halted for good late Thursday when fog made it impossible to see the green.

"It was really pretty fortunate with the weather,'' Haas said. "It was just the kind of day that you had to feel you could be aggressive at a U.S. Open.''

Shinnecock Hills had just about every element except the one that sharpens its teeth -- wind that makes it tough to find the fairway and keep the ball on the green. That gave way to soupy fog in the morning, a steamy sun at midday and the threat of storms that suspended the round for more than two hours.

Among the 57 players who did not finish their round were Masters champion Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh, both at 2 under par and without a bogey. Play is to resume at 7 a.m. ET.

"No question, today was the day for scoring,'' said Mickelson, who had three holes remaining.

Not everyone who played early had an easy time.

Tiger Woods needed to save par five times from the bunker -- and once for his only birdie -- in a pedestrian round of 72. It was the fourth straight time he failed to shoot par or better in the first round of a major. Looming ominously for Woods is that he has never won any tournament when starting out over par.

Jay Haas
Jay Haas was all smiles on Thursday, including here at the 13th hole.

"There's an awful long way to go,'' Woods said. "We haven't seen the wind up yet. If that ever happens, this golf course is pretty tough.''

Ernie Els took a double bogey at No. 11 (his second hole), but recovered with some terrific wedge play and a few timely putts to salvage a 70. Davis Love III made two triple bogeys and shot 76.

The worst score belonged to David Duval. Playing for the first time in seven months, Duval was tied for the lead at one point -- the first hole -- but eventually unraveled off the tee and shot 83, matching his worst score as a professional. But he had a good time and realized he wasn't tournament tested.

"I would call it an enormous victory for me today,'' Duval said. "I can't wait for tomorrow.''

Some guys wish Thursday would never end.

David Roesch was thinking of giving up golf after this year, but he made it through two stages of qualifying, got into the Open and then birdied four of the first six holes he played. Roesch was in a large group at 68.

"I don't know if it's hit me yet,'' said Roesch, a 30-year-old from Wisconsin who plays the Hooters Tour. "I don't know if I want to wake up or not.''

Kris Cox, a PGA Tour rookie who has never been to the U.S. Open, also kept his name on the leaderboard throughout the day and shot 68.

"A year ago this time I was playing the Gateway Tour in Scottsdale, Arizona,'' Cox said. "Actually, I was hurrying to get done to watch the Open.''

Joining them was Kevin Stadler -- son of 1982 Masters champion Craig Stadler -- along with Jeff Maggert, Skip Kendall and British Open champion Ben Curtis.

Only three other players managed to break par -- Trevor Immelman, Tim Petrovic and Brian Gay. Even without the wind, Shinnecock is no picnic. And there's no telling what will happen if the wind decides to show up.

"Tuesday when we played, the wind blew pretty hard and the golf course played very, very difficult,'' Maggert said. "If we would have saw that kind of wind this morning, par would have been a very good score.''

The U.S. Open has a history of treating the old folks kindly in the first round.

Tom Watson was 53 when he shot 65 in the first round at Olympia Fields last year. Hale Irwin shot a 67 at Southern Hills in the first round in the 2001 U.S. Open.

Shigeki Maruyama
Shigeki Maruyama's 66 was his best-ever round at the U.S. Open.

No one was all that surprised to see Haas in the lead. Even though he turned 50 last December, he has remained a regular on the PGA Tour and has played well enough to blend right in with guys young enough to be his son.

In fact, he was playing with his son.

"There's nothing you can about it. He's good,'' said Bill Haas, 22, who was 3 over with one hole left. "He's top 25 in the world, so it's not like he can't play. Most kids can beat their dads, but I can't.''

Still, Haas hasn't won in more than 10 years on the PGA Tour, and he has never won a major.

Haas twice made birdies that would have gone 10 feet past if the hole had not been in the way, including a 40-footer on the 17th that moved him to 4 under.

"I felt like I stole a couple there,'' he said.

It was his best start ever at the U.S. Open, and only the fourth time he has broken par in the first round since his first appearance 30 years ago.

Maruyama put together a great round before a large crowd -- he played with Woods and Chad Campbell (72). The Japanese star has said the U.S. Open intimidates him with its rock-hard greens and high rough.

"I just tried to get even par today,'' Maruyama said. "Through the practice round, I never hit under par here. I wasn't very aggressive.''

That proved to be a smart plan, as Maruyama never made bogey and surged to the top of the leaderboard with a 60-foot birdie on No. 10 and a tee shot on the 11th that stopped 3 feet from the hole.

Maruyama usually takes a hot shower after his round to control neck and back injuries.

Haas might have been expected to take a nap at his age, but he had more important things to do. He returned to the course as a spectator to watch his son play.

"I'll watch him tomorrow afternoon after I get done,'' Bill said.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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