(Photo: Eileen Blass, USA TODAY SPORTS)
Steve DiMeglio, USA TODAY Sports
ARDMORE, Pa. - Storms took the lead in the first round of the U.S. Open.
Impending lightning, strong winds and rain suspended play in Thursday's first round of the national championship at Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia. Play was halted at 8:36 a.m. as a storm front moved into the area. The fabled course already received nearly 6 inches of rain last week, making for soft playing conditions.
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The forecast does not look good for the rest of the day. Stacked storm fronts are moving toward the mid-Atlantic. The brunt of the day's storms is scheduled to hit the Philadelphia area at 6 p.m. ET.
Ian Poulter made birdie on his first three holes to grab the lead. Four players - Charlie Hoffman, Nicholas Colsaerts, Charl Schwartzel and Tim Clark - were at 2 under. Play began at 6:45 a.m.
Phil Mickelson, who flew overnight from San Diego to make a 7:11 a.m. tee time, was even par through five holes.
Sergio Garcia, who heard a few mild boos when he stepped to his first hole (No. 11), was at even par through three holes with a bogey and a birdie.
The marquee pairing, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Adam Scott, was scheduled to tee off at 1:14 p.m.
Spectators also were being evacuated from the grounds.
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