Three hours before Lee Westwood‘s Round 1 tee time, his caddie Billy Foster was out wandering the course with his yardage book and pencil for the umpteenth time this week.

Standing at the par-3 17th he scribbled away noting wind direction, pin position, yachts moored in the bay.

“Doing a little bit of homework,” he said. “You can never do too much. Look at that green,” he said.

The pin was tucked away in the left hand corner behind a bunker. “You can forget half that green,” he said. “The actual green you’re working with is only about 10 yards by eight yards. It¹s so tough out here. It¹s all about hanging on.”

But when Westwood finally arrived at the 17th all Billy’s calculations on where to land on the green came to nought. Splat. Plugged lie in the bunker.  Bogey. The best laid plans etc.

Foster said the key at US Opens was to hang on. But Westwood quickly fell off the pace after a three-over-par 38 on the front nine followed by two further bogeys at the 11th and 12th.

But last week’s champion at the St Jude Classic in Memphis is a fighter. Birdies at the 14th and 15th got his game going back in the right direction until that bogey at the 17th could see Westwood and Foster lined up outside the headmaster’s office.

Detention avoided – just, ­with a last gasp birdie at the 18th. Level with Tiger Woods. Always a good place to be in a Major championship. Foster’s homework could still get a gold star for Westwood. But extra swotting may be required if they are to pass the final examination on Sunday.

Day 1 for Westwood: C+. Good effort. Can do better.

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