- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 20, 2009

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. | Mike Weir came within one stroke of matching the best round in any of golf’s major championships.

There have been four 63s in the 108 U.S. Opens, the last by Vijay Singh in the second round at Olympia Fields in 2003. Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf both shot 63 in the opening round at Baltusrol in 1980. Those three rounds, like Weir’s, were shot on courses that played to a par of 70.

The best round in relation to par was Johnny Miller’s 8-under 63 in the final round at Oakmont in 1973, which gave him a one-shot victory on John Schlee. There have been 10 63s in the PGA Championship, seven in the British Open and two in the Masters.

Weir made eight birdies and a double bogey for a 33-31-64 and said 63 wasn’t on his mind.

“It really wasn’t. I didn’t think much about it,” he said. “I was just in one of those days where I was so focused on what I was doing.”

Amateur hour

Three of the 14 amateurs in the field bettered or matched par, and two of them completed their rounds in the morning, when good scores were much tougher to come by.

Drew Weaver, the 2007 British Amateur champion and a junior at Virginia Tech, shot a 1-under 69, one stroke better than Cameron Tringale, who played at Georgia Tech, and Kyle Stanley, who played at Clemson.

Weaver and Tringale completed their first rounds Friday morning when the course was still drying out from Thursday’s daylong rain, while Stanley played his round under sunny skies.

Ben Martin, who also played at Clemson, was at 72, a shot better than Nick Taylor, a native of Canada who played at Washington.

Rickie Fowler, who just finished his sophomore season at Oklahoma State, was one of the amateurs who made the cut last year at Torrey Pines. He shot an opening 78 at Bethpage.

“It’s definitely a lot easier playing with a caddie in the rain,” he said. “In college golf, you have an umbrella, bag and rain gear. It gets tough just doing that, let alone playing in the rain, but this course is definitely a million times better than a college golf course.”

Not a total wash

Fans who attended Thursday’s rain-shortened opening round will be able to use that ticket to see any golf played Monday or get a partial refund if play ends Sunday.

USGA executive director David Fay announced that tickets issued for Thursday can be used for any play Monday, whether it will be the completion of the 72 holes because of the inclement weather or an 18-hole playoff should one be necessary.

If there is no golf Monday - a long shot considering the second round was not completed Friday and more bad weather is expected Saturday - those holding tickets for Thursday would be eligible for a 50 percent refund.

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