Steven Alker struggles in US Open first round
Steven Alker will have to lift his game if he wants to make the cut at the US Open for the second successive year.
The lone New Zealander at golf's second major of the year failed to fire during the opening round, carding a six-over par 76 in tough conditions at Pinehurst No 2 course in North Carolina.
Alker turned in three-over par after bogeys at the first, third, sixth holes, then dropped three further shots coming home after consecutive bogeys from holes No 15 to 17.
The birdie-free round left him languishing in a share of 123rd place and probably needing to shoot a 68 or 69 tomorrow to make the cut.
The 42-year-old from Hamilton, who won on the US second tier tour on Monday, less than a week after qualifying for the US Open, was New Zealand's only representative at Pinehurst, the stage for Michael Campbell's 2005 US Open win.
He also qualified for the open last year, at Merion Golf Club, finishing 45th.
German Martin Kaymer, a former winner of the PGA Championship and victor at this year's Players Championship at Sawgrass, held a three-shot lead after the first round.
Kaymer birdied three of his last four holes - and had six birdies on the day - to break out from the pack after a five-under 65.
Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell, Zimbabwean Brendon De Jonge and Americans Kevin Na and Fran Quinn share second after two-under par 68s.