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As the saying goes, "you can't win the U.S. Open on Thursday, but you sure can lose it with a poor opening round." Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer learned that lesson the hard way on Thursday at Congressional.
Paired together in the first two rounds, the top three players in the world were pegged as possible contenders this week, with Westwood and Donald running 1-2 as the pre-tournament favorites in Vegas. While they could all still be in contention come Sunday, shooting a combined 10-over in the opening round wasn't the start they were looking for at a major.
Donald's start looked promising, as he opened the round 2-under thru two holes before bogeying six of the next seven to fall out of contention. It was an uncharacteristically poor round from the top player in the world rankings, as he missed a number of greens from the center of the fairway.
Like Donald, Westwood and Kaymer couldn't get off the bogey train, as the two recorded a combined 12 on the day. Making a bogey is never a bad thing, but when you're making them in bunches and don't respond with a birdie, that's when things can go south in a hurry.
We shouldn't write the new big three off after one round; you'd be crazy to do such a thing. But given their Thursday struggles, you'd expect they'd all need to put up a red number Friday to be back into contention before the weekend.