Nick Watney scores a double eagle

Nick Watney hits a drive on the second

Nick Watney hits a drive on the second hole during the first round of the U.S. Open. (June 14, 2012) (Credit: AP)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nick Watney scored the second double eagle in a major this year. Unlike Louis Oosthuizen, who admitted later he was rattled by his "albatross" on No. 2 at the Masters and ultimately lost to Bubba Watson in a playoff, Watney used it to ignite his round.

He was 3 over before he drained his 5-iron shot on the 522-yard 17th (his eighth hole of the day), then finished 1 under. "I feel like my game is headed in a good direction," the Sacramento native said, adding that he felt he rode a hot streak begun by Giants pitcher Matt Cain's perfect game Wednesday night.

Top 3 topsy-turvy

Defending champion Rory McIlroy was part of a distinguished group composed of the top three players in the official world golf ranking. The threesome distinguished itself by its poor play. McIlroy finished 7 over, Luke Donald (world No. 1) was 9 over and Lee Westwood (No. 3) was 3 over.

"The top three golfers in the world, we had three [birdies] between us, it shows how tough it is," Donald said. "Lee had a good back nine, but Rory and I struggled."

Chip shots

Casey Martin, riding in a cart because of a circulatory condition that prohibits him from walking even small distances, outplayed many elite golfers with a 74, despite the fact he has not played competitively in six years. "I was really nervous. I tried not to be, but it didn't work," he said. "It was a special day. I'm really thankful I played decently, but man, it's a stress out there." . . . Fourteen-year-old Andy Zhang was 5 over par after two holes and 8 over after five. Then he grew steady and finished at 9 over.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Newsday Sports on Facebook

advertisement | advertise on newsday