Little-known American Daniel Berger struck the first shot on the
par-four opening hole while Swede Henrik Norlander began proceedings
at the par-five 10th to launch the third U.S. Open to be played on
Pinehurst's fabled No. 2 Course.
World number one Adam Scott was among the late starters, set to tee
off with fellow Masters champions Bubba Watson and Charl Schwartzel
from the first at 1:25 p.m. (1725 GMT) in one of the most
eye-catching trios of the day.
Australian Scott, who will be seeking his second major title after
clinching his first at last year's Masters, is among the favorites
at Pinehurst after winning four times in his last 17 starts
U.S. Open fans have several mouth-watering groupings to watch in the
early morning, among them Swedish world number two Henrik Stenson,
fifth-ranked American Matt Kuchar and England's former world number
one Lee Westwood, who will start at 7.29 a.m. (1129 GMT) from the
Next off on that hole are three former U.S. Open champions with
American Webb Simpson (2012) and Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy
(2011) and Graeme McDowell (2010) having been drawn together.
In keeping with tradition, tournament officials have placed
defending U.S. Open champion Justin Rose of England in the same
group as the British Open champion and the reigning U.S. Amateur
Rose will tee off from the 10th hole at 7:51 a.m. along with
American Phil Mickelson, a five-times major winner who is seeking
his first U.S. Open crown after a record six runner-up finishes, and
amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick.
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In other high-profile trios, Spaniard Sergio Garcia will set off
with Australian Jason Day and American Brandt Snedeker while three
PGA Championship winners have been grouped together: last year's
champion Jason Dufner, fellow American Keegan Bradley (2011) and
Germany's Martin Kaymer (2010).
Three-times champion and world number four Tiger Woods is a notable
absentee from Pinehurst as he continues to recover back surgery.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Martyn Herman)
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