Hoffman off the mark as US Open under way

Charley Hoffman (Getty)
Charley Hoffman (Getty)

Erin - America's Charley Hoffman grabbed two quick birdies to take an early lead as the 117th US Open got under way at Erin Hills on Thursday.

Hoffman, teeing off on the 10th hole, notched a birdie on his first hole before another on the par-four 12th to move one shot clear of the field.

Eight other players made early birdies to move to one under in perfect conditions at the rural Wisconsin course after play teed off at at 6.45am local time (11:45 GMT).

Playing conditions at the formidable 7,441-yard layout were primed for low scoring, with rain in the days leading up to Thursday softening the greens and making the fairways more accommodating.

World number one Dustin Johnson, the tournament favourite, was due to tee off in a star-studded grouping with 2015 champion Jordan Spieth and 2014 winner Martin Kaymer of Germany at 8.35am.

Masters winner Sergio Garcia and world number two Rory McIlroy had afternoon tee-times scheduled.

Meanwhile, six-time US Open runner-up Phil Mickelson confirmed his withdrawal from the tournament on Thursday as expected.

Mickelson had vowed to skip the tournament to attend his daughter's high school graduation ceremony but had been granted a tee-time on the off-chance any delay in play may allow him to travel across the country to make the first round.

His place in the field is taken by Mexico's Roberto Diaz.

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