The first round of the 2012 US Open at San Francisco’s Olympic Club threw up some surprises as 156 players battled the brutal Lake Course.
Michael Thompson – who lost the final of the US Amateur on the same course in 2007 – led the field by three shots after round one with a brilliant 66.
Thompson took advantage of the morning conditions to record a score that is unlikely to be beaten this week.
Tiger Woods lies in a tie for second on one-under-par after a wonderful display of patience and course management.
The former world number one – oozing confidence after his recent victory at Memorial – showed exactly how to compete with a US Open course: hit fairways and play conservative golf.
His playing partners – Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson – struggled, taking 76 and 78 shots respectively. Watson declared after the round he felt ‘beat up.’
As the day progressed, the course became firmer and faster and a breeze picked up, making conditions far harder than in the morning.
The marquee afternoon group, comprised of Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, had a nightmare start, managing just three birdies between them.
Westwood fared best, playing the last 13 holes in one-under-par for a respectable 73.
McIlroy stumbled to a 77, and Donald a birdie-free nine-over-par 79. Both players need a decent second round just to make the cut.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom in the afternoon, however. Britons Justin Rose and 2010 champion Graeme McDowell both finished with back-to-back birdies to end the day on one-under-par, two of only six players to break 70 on day one.
Nick Watney also shot 69, thanks largely to only the third albatross in US Open history on the par-5 17th.
David Toms also shot 69, and home favourites Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk returned steady 70s in tough afternoon conditions.
Ian Poulter matched their 70 in a round which included an eagle two at the driveable 7th.