Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson share the lead | 9:08 a.m.

Staging a U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club required more than just stringing the ropes, setting up tents and plugging in television cameras.

With a footprint of about 111 acres, the smallish course in Ardmore, Pa. – a suburb of Philadelphia – simply wasn’t built with a modern-era major in mind.

Some greens do not have enough space to accommodate fans, which on Friday led to golfers sinking long putts to the sound of … silence.

Officials had to build temporary locker rooms and a removable pedestrian bridge. The driving range at Merion’s East Course was used for structures, meaning that players must warm up at the West Course range, a mile away.

“I think that there's a number of people who like to go straight off the driving range, hitting that last tee ball and trying to envision them being on the first tee and hitting that -- replicating that same tee shot,” Matt Kuchar said earlier in the week. “It's going to be 20 or 30 minutes I think from the range to when you actually tee off.” 

Friday morning, overhead TV shots showed crowds lining narrow spaces along the fairways as a number of players shifted up and down the leaderboard.

Luke Donald stood at 1-under for the day, putting him in a tie for first with Phil Mickelson at 3-under. John Senden, with a couple of birdies, stood one stroke back.

Rory McIlroy and Geoff Ogilvy also looked strong at the start of the second round, rising to 1-over and 2-over, respectively. But Peter Hedblom was headed the opposite direction, dropping two strokes to fall to 2-over.

Lee Westwood, briefly in contention on Thursday, slipped to 3-over with a bogey on No. 11 and a double-bogey on No. 13.

Tiger Woods was treading water. After a birdie on No. 13, he missed a tricky, downhill putt for par at No. 14 and returned to 3-over.

The rain-delayed first round finally came to an end at 11:35 a.m. EDT.

 

Luke Donald takes the lead | 8:21 a.m.

If players are looking to make birdies at the U.S. Open this week, their best chance lies in a stretch of holes at the middle of Merion Golf Club.

On Friday morning, Luke Donald took advantage.

Starting second-round play on the No. 11 tee, Donald birdied two of his first three holes to move back into the lead at four under, a stroke ahead of Phil Mickelson.

Among the early tee times, K.J. Choi also showed signs of making a move with a birdie at No. 1, rising into a tie for fourth at one under.

It has been a busy morning at Merion, with nearly half the field teeing off at 7:15 a.m. EDT to finish the rain-delayed first round. Only five players finished under par after 18 holes, with conditions even trickier this morning.