Arjun Atwal off to feeble start in maiden US Open

Pebble Beach: Arjun Atwal`s US Open debut did not turn out to be a fairytale one as the former Asia number one, also the lone Indian in fray, stuttered to four-over 75 in the first round to lie tied 66th in the golf major.

The Florida-based Indian had a wobbly front nine at the Pebble Beach Golf Links and his inward journey was no different either, the upshot being just four birdies as against eight bogeys which jeopardised his chances of lingering for weekend action.

Atwal, who earned his place through sectional qualifying, was pushed early into the back foot by the bogey-bogey start.

A birdie on the third and the parred fourth hole had barely calmed his nerves before Atwal ran into a turbulent five-hole stretch where he sandwiched back-to-back birdies between three bogeys that left him two-over at the turn.

His back nine journey was nothing to write home about either.

Bogeys on the 12th and 14th hole sent him four-over and the 17th hole birdie was no solace either as Atwal signed off with another dropped shot to join the 24-player huddle in the 66th place.

Meanwhile, Asian Tour honorary member K J Choi put himself in Major contention with a one-under 70 that had the Korean tied at fourth place, one shot behind joint leaders Paul Casey, Brendon De Jonge and Shaun Micheel.

Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan also started well with a 72 while Korea`s Y E Yang, Asia`s first Major champion, battled to a 73 for a share of 30th position.

Reigning Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand returned 74 to lie alongside Korean teenager Noh Seung-yul, who is making his Major debut, and Fijian Vijay Singh, who is an Asian Tour honorary member.

Among other Asian Tour players, Sweden`s Rikard Karlberg, winner of the SAIL Open in India, shot 77, while Australian Terry Pilkadaris and Welshman Rhys Davies ended the day a further shot back.


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