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Lowry first up ahead of Major stars

By way of proving that the first can sometimes be first, US Open debutant, Shane Lowry has been drawn in the opening three-ball at Congressional CC on Thursday. He goes off the first tee at 7.0am (noon Irish time) in the company of Daehyun Kim of Korea and Chez Reavie of Arizona, who would not be household names at this level.

Meanwhile, the growing practice of arranging so-called matinee groups in the Major championships has delivered a particularly appealing three-ball off the 10th tee. That is where Luke Donald is joined by Lee Westwood, the player he replaced as world No 1, and Martin Kaymer, who also reached that elevated status earlier this year.

Defending champion Graeme McDowell goes into action five groups behind Lowry, also off the first tee, befitting his status in the championship. His particular three-ball has a traditional look to it, with the presence of US Amateur champion Peter Uihlein from Orlando and South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, who won the Open Championship at St Andrews last July. They tee-off at 7.55am on Thursday and should command peak American television viewing figures with a 1.35pm start off the 10th tee on Friday.

Pádraig Harrington is also in a three-ball of champions on this occasion. Off the 10th tee at 7.44am on Thursday and off the first at 1.24pm on Friday, he is joined by former US Open and Masters winner, Angel Cabrera, along with the 2009 Open champion, Stewart Cink.

As the last of the four Irish challengers into action on Thursday, Rory McIlroy has been given a similarly attractive draw. He goes off the 10th tee at 1.35pm with Americans Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson in a three-ball which won't hesitate to challenge the formidable length of the Congressional stretch.

Sunday Indo Sport