Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell spearheaded the British challenge in the opening round of the US Open as the big three of Luke Donald, Rory MCIlroy and Lee Westwood struggled on a very difficult Olympic club course in San Francisco.
Rose and McDowell both carded one-under-par 69s and were two of only six players under par. Tiger Woods was also on une under as little-known American Michael Thompson stormed round in a four-under 66 to sit on top of the leaderboard after day one.
Rose was happy with his efforts. He said: "It's a good start, but I'm not going to get too wrapped up in with that. This is the type of golf tournament where you have to stay in the moment and not get ahead of yourself.
"Even now, I am not thinking about round one... I'm thinking about my first tee shot tomorrow. It's going to be a long, hard week and I need to stay mentally strong."
Woods realised early on that conditions were very different from the practice rounds, with fairways and greens firming up. Instead of thrashing away with a driver, he started to hit low and penetrating 3-woods and 2-irons. He said: "I'm really excited about how I executed my plan."
Playing partners Phil Mickelson and Masters champion Bubba Watson did not fare so well. Mickelson lost his opening tee shot and ended up six over. Watson's attempt to overpower the course backfired badly as he slumped to eight over. Both will have to pull something special out of the bag today if they are to make the cut, which is expected to be around the seven over mark.
Ian Poulter also played well with a solid level par and although Westwood may have hoped for better, his three over par is far from out of it. Already, it is clear that anyone who can ride with a few bogeys and make some good par saves will be in contention.