ARDMORE, Pa. — Luke Donald did not look like much of a morning person on Friday.
After taking the U.S. Open's overnight lead at -4 with three birdies on his last three holes Thursday night, the 35-year-old Englishman struggled once play resumed at Merion Golf Club. Donald, who had five holes remaining in the round when darkness fell, turned in bogeys on the 16th and 18th holes to finish with a 68 and slip one shot back of clubhouse leader Phil Mickelson.
Despite Friday's finish, Donald has to be pleased with the way he started. He birdied the first hole and then the third, no easy feat considering it's a long par-3 at 246 yards.
"(A birdie on) three is like picking up a couple of shots," Donald said on Thursday. "(I'm) happy with the way I'm playing and giving myself opportunities. I didn't get into too much trouble."
Donald has a quick turnaround for Round 2 and will start from the 11th tee at 10:22 a.m. ET. Being near the top of the U.S. Open leaderboard will be a new experience for one of the best players to never win a major. Donald has never finished higher than T-12 at the tournament and has failed to make the cut in three of his nine appearances.
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