Former champions Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk remained in a tie for the U.S. Open lead after they each parred the tricky opening hole while Tiger Woods slid out of contention in Sunday's final round at a foggy Olympic Club.
American Furyk missed the green to the left with his approach but he two-putted for par to remain level with Northern Irishman McDowell at one under for the tournament.
However, they still had five more holes to negotiate before completing what many regard as the toughest start to a major championship because of the tilting fairways, thick rough and slick greens at Olympic.
British world number three Lee Westwood and Swede Fredrik Jacobson were a further three strokes back in a tie for third at two over.
Englishman Westwood recovered from a bogey at the par-four first with a birdie at the second, where he struck a superb approach from the left cut of rough to five feet.
His playing partner Jacobson began par-bogey.
Three-times champion Woods, who was five strokes off the pace overnight, suffered a nightmare start, going bogey, bogey, double-bogey over the first three holes.
He found the right rough off the tee at the par-four first, dumped his approach into a greenside bunker at the second and took three shots to reach the green at the par-three third.
After parring the fourth, Woods then bogeyed the fifth and sixth to drop to 10 over par in his bid to end a major title drought of four years, a distant 11 strokes off the lead.
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, who was among the early starters, closed with a one-under-par 69 to post a nine-over total of 289.
"I drove it pretty well and I putted pretty well," Love told reporters after mixing four birdies wit three bogeys. "I didn't get into too much trouble, but I think I was cautious off the tee, and that helped.
"If you make a little mistake you're going to make a bogey, probably, so it's really tough out there. You just have to be cautious and persistent and very patient."
(Editing by Julian Linden)