From AP REPORTS
OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) - Oakmont was as easy as it gets. The U.S. Open was as tough as ever.
Even with a half-inch of rain on the eve of the championship and several hole locations that showed a compassionate side of the USGA, Nick Dougherty and Angel Cabrera were the only players who managed to break par Thursday in an opening round that left players wondering if the worst was ahead of them.
Dougherty, a 25-year-old from England, played in the fourth group of the still morning and quickly raised hopes of ending a European drought in the majors that stretches back to 1999. He took only 11 putts on the back nine in his round of 2-under 68, a score not many thought possible earlier in the week.
"I think the course is — I hate saying it — easy," Dougherty said, sounding like that might come back to haunt him. "Goodness, I shouldn't have said that. No, absolutely not. The course is barbaric."
Cabrera was one of only two players who reached 3 under, and lost a share of the lead with a bogey on the 313-yard 17th.
Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal shot even-par 70, while the large group at 71 included Tiger Woods, defending champion Geoff Ogilvy, Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh.
Woods holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole that put him 1 under, his first time in red numbers at this major since the second round at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2005.
He gave it back two holes later and never caught up to par.
"It's as easy as it's going to play, and it's still pretty hard," Woods said. "Imagine if it didn't rain last night."
With greens that Olazabal described as rock-hard only a day ago, Oakmont was softened by the Wednesday night thunderstorms and cloud cover through the better part of the morning.