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Players with OneAsia connections met with mixed fortune in the opening round of the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club on Thursday, but Australian Alistair Presnell kept the flag flying high with an even par 70 that left him four shots off the lead in joint seventh place. Unheralded American Michael Thompson topped the leader board with a stunning 66 that included seven birdies, three bogies and just 22 putts. Tiger Woods was three shots behind in second place with four others, including 2010 champion Graeme McDowell.
Presnell, who finished 78th on the OneAsia Order of Merit last year, said he tried to play "boring golf", as being too aggressive would end in disaster on the challenging course.
"I think if you try to take on the course, it will bite you back," he said. "So therefore I was really just playing almost a boring round of golf, shooting for the middle of the greens and accepting that two putts for a par was good enough."
Presnell is currently 25th on the Nationwide Tour Order of Merit as he seeks his U.S. PGA Tour card, but is likely to play OneAsia tournaments again later this year at the Emirates Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship, presented by Coca-Cola.
"I was certainly nervous, I'm still nervous," said Presnell of his first experience in a Major championship. "It feels as though I played about 25 holes. I'm pretty exhausted, pretty beat."
Another OneAsia player making his debut in a Major was fellow Australian Anthony Summers, who had a smile on his face wider than most of the fairways at the Olympic Club despite closing with a six-over-par 76.
"It was an amazing experience," said Summers, who earned his place after winning sectional qualifying in Chicago last week, taking advantage of one of 25 places given to OneAsia by the United States Golf Association.
Summers' round was better than the scorecard suggests as it included three three-putts and a couple of missed birdie chances that could have made a big difference.
"I am actually petty happy with my round," said Summers, currently 37th on the OneAsia money list. "If it wasn't for a few putts here and there, it could have been a lot better."
Summers has some illustrious company at six over including four-time Major winner Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, who won OneAsia's Emirates Australian Open in 2009.
South African Branden Grace, winner of the OneAsia co-sanctioned Volvo China Open earlier this year, scored the first eagle of the tournament on the par five 17th en-route to a one over-par 71 that leaves him well in the hunt.
"I played really well," he said. "I felt really confident and really positive out there. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week."
Two-time OneAsia winner Bae Sang-moon, of Korea, started strongly playing the course back-to-front, but dropped six shots from holes one to six -- considered one of the toughest string of holes in professional golf -- to finish at seven over, the same as defending champion Rory McIlroy.
Also at seven over was Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion and runner-up this year at the U.S. Masters, who has confirmed his participation in OneAsia's $1 million Nanshan China Masters in October.
Korean Kim Kyung-tae, another OneAsia winner and second on the Order of Merit last year, also struggled over holes one to six after a solid opening nine and carded a 74.
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