Rory McIlroy and top players struggle at US Open

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Let the carnage begin.

The opening round at the US Open at Shinnecock Hills on Thursday morning was a throwback to the old days of this national championship, when great players were making huge scores and the battle of attrition had begun.

The most glaring was world No. 6 Rory McIlroy, who started on the 10th hole and shot an opening nine holes of 7-over 42, actually reeling it in on his back nine to finish with a 10-over 80. McIlroy’s early marquee group all struggled, with Phil Mickelson leading the way with 77 and Jordan Spieth shooting 78.

They all blew off interview requests from the general media.

Despite a bit of rain on Wednesday night, the golf course was playing fast and firm, and the rough remained high and penal. The winds whipped up and made the greens even faster, with balls consistently running off the putting surfaces and into the tightly mowed areas that surround.

Everyone was trailing the early leaders in the clubhouse of Scott Piercy and Ian Poulter, who both shot 1-under 69.

“I knew, from how I was playing, that it was going to be extremely difficult for everyone and, you know, I found the rough a few times and know how difficult it was for me to get back in position,” Poulter said. “I knew how hard it would be for everyone else, and this golf course is an extremely difficult course to play with no wind. Playing at 25-mile-an-hour wind is pretty stressful.”

The marquee group in the afternoon of Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas teed off the first hole at 1:47 p.m., and Woods made a triple-bogey 7 on the short par-4 opening hole.

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