Highs and lows:

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Tod Leonard tod.leonard@ut­sandiego.com

Af­ter colead­ers shoot 65 in morn­ing, Woods and Fowler can’t break 80. Greens draw crit­i­cism.

UNIVER­SITY PLACE, Wash. — Call them “browns,” be­cause they are hardly green.

The putting sur­faces on the Cham­bers Bay golf course look like a quilted patch­work of grass, so splotchy that they seem in need of a good paint job. That’s the na­ture of fes­cue grass, which can look a lot worse than it ac­tu­ally plays.

Whether it’s up to ma­jor cham­pi­onship stan­dards is another ques­tion.

Rory McIl­roy hit the ball about as well as any­body from tee to green Thurs­day in the first round of the U.S. Open, but the world’s topranked player missed many putts by an inch or two and needed an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic amount (34) in shoot­ing a dis­ap­point­ing two-over-par 72 that put him seven shots off the lead.

With some diplo­macy, McIl­roy said of the greens, “They are not the best I’ve ever putted on.”

Plac­ing the onus on him­self, he added, “I still feel like if you make a good enough stroke and you have the right speed there’s a good enough chance the ball will go in.”

Af­ter shoot­ing 70, Ser­gio Gar­cia said on Twit­ter that the greens are “as bad as they look on TV.” Later, Gar­cia tweeted that the U.S. Open “de­serves bet­ter qual­ity green sur­faces than we have this week but maybe I’m wrong!”

Phil Mick­el­son, who scouted Cham­bers Bay ex­ten­sively in the buildup and shot 69 in the first round, noted that the greens played at vary­ing speeds through­out the course, a con­di­tion with which the play­ers are not ac­cus­tomed to on ei­ther the PGA Tour or a ma­jor. Mick­el­son said there was a three-foot dif­fer­ence in roll on the Stimp­me­ter be­tween some greens.

“That’s a big chal­lenge for us,” said Mick­el­son, who had an early lead at three un­der, “and it’s the only thing I could pos­si­bly say is not just won­der­ful. … That’s the best way to wreak havoc with us, change the speeds of the greens from green to green.” Etc.

Cole Ham­mer, a 15-yearold high school sopho­more from Hous­ton, stum­bled to a 40 on the back nine and shot a no-birdie 77. ... Bubba Wat­son com­plained about slow play, say­ing af­ter a shot on the last hole: “You wait 30 min­utes. This is pa­thetic pro­fes­sional golf.” ... For­mer USC star Jamie Love­mark, 27, play­ing in his first ma­jor in a ca­reer filled with in­juries, ea­gled the 12th hole on his way to shoot­ing 70. Love­mark is play­ing on the Web.com Tour af­ter los­ing his PGA Tour card last sea­son.

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