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Tiger, heavy rain roar on opening day

india Updated: Jun 18, 2009 23:32 IST

First-round play was halted in the 109th US Open after intense rain made Bethpage Black unplayable on Thursday, with Tiger Woods standing two strokes off the pace at one-over after six holes.

Soaked spectators braved heavy showers to watch a super group of reigning major champions including Woods navigate the 7,426-yard par-70 course but rain swamped holes so badly that one green had a flagpole in the center of a pond.

Grounds workers lost their battle with Mother Nature on a day better suited for Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps than golf's greatest players, famed Bethpage Black becoming a swampy mess as players and spectators slogged along.

Sweden's Johan Edfors birdied the par-5 fourth to share the lead at one-under through four when play was halted after barely three hours.

Level for the lead were Canada's Andrew Parr after four holes and Americans Ryan Spears, who finished three holes in the last group to tee off at the first, and Jeff Brehaut, who finished 11 in the first group off the 10th tee.

World number one Woods seeks his 15th major title, which would put him three shy of the career record 18 won by Jack Nicklaus, and a fourth US Open crown to match the record held by Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Willie Anderson.

Defending champion Woods and his fellow reigning major champions teed off just after 8:00 am before a hearty group that surrounded the first tee, where a warning sign notes the course is only for highly skilled players but on this day needed to advise about diving in without a lifeguard.