For at least one day both Phil Mickelson — the leader in the clubhouse Thursday — and Luke Donald — best among half of the field that didn’t get to finish its first round — say Merion has been relatively kind to the U.S. Open field
They don’t expect that to last for long.
“This was as easy as this golf course is going to play,'” predicted Mickelson. “We had very little wind, soft fairways, soft greens and no mud balls.”
Even better for the late afternoon group, which had 13 players under par when play was suspended at 8:21 p.m., topped by Donald (-4), recent Masters’ champion Adam Scott (-3) and defending Open champ Webb Simpson (-2) As for Scott’s playing partners, Rory McIlroy is at even-par through 11 with some guy named Tiger Woods plus-two through 10.
“If you’re ever going to go low I think today was a good day,” said Donald, whom many consider the best player on the PGA not to win a major. “The course is soft. The greens are soft and not as fast as they could be.”
Mickelson says that’s about to change.
“It’s such a penalizing golf course,” said Mickelson, who will turn 43 Sunday. “It’s penalizing if you miss the fairways.”
Play resumed at 7:15 a.m. Friday, then depending how quickly the round is completed, they’ll begin the second round. But even if the rain holds off it’s hard to imagine getting everything done in time to reach the midway point and make the cut.
“I’ve only gotten nine holes in, but my game feels good,” said Simpson. “The only thing I might do tomorrow is be more patient in my walking.”
Especially, if after being nice Thursday, Merion decides it’s time to start getting nasty.