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Hole-out, experience benefit Westwood at soggy Oakmont

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OAKMONT, Pa. – Close so many times in his career to winning a major championship, maybe the only thing Lee Westwood is missing is a little bit of Grand Slam luck.

On Thursday at Oakmont, between persistent rain delays on what is considered in many circles the most demanding test in golf, fortune certainly smiled on the Englishman, who holed his wedge shot from 128 yards at the par-4 14th hole for an eagle.

“It landed right of the hole and screwed sideways in, which was nice,” Westwood smiled.

He added long birdie putts at the 12th and fourth holes (he started his round on No. 10) and was tied for fourth place at 1 under par when play was finally called for the day after multiple weather delays.

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Although he missed short pars putts at Nos. 1 and 2, he rebounded with a 25-footer for birdie at the fourth and was in the fifth fairway when play was called.

Westwood, who is playing his 17th U.S. Open, didn’t seem impacted by the start-and-stop nature of the round and said he’s used to dealing with delays as well as demanding conditions.

“Experience obviously comes into play a lot at majors and U.S. Opens, but it does so even more on days like this,” he said. “I like to get into contention and give myself a chance. That's what I did at the Masters, and hopefully I'll do it here.”