Manley boosts US Open hopes

Stuart Manley put himself on track for a place at the US Open after shooting a six under-par 66 in the first round at Walton Heath Golf Club.

The 35-year-old was first man out at 6.40am on the Old Course and set the pace with the best score of the morning in 36-hole qualifying event, with Sweden's Niclas Fasth one shot behind.

Over on the New Course English duo Oliver Fisher and Simon Griffiths carded five-under 67s to give them a good chance of securing one of the 14 places available for the second major of the year at Pinehurst.

Compatriot Graeme Storm and Germany's Maximilian Kieffer shot four under for the New Course with Ireland's Shane Lowry, runner up to Rory McIlroy in the BMW Championship at Wentworth on Sunday, still having work left to do after a 69.

However, fellow countryman and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington's hopes rest on him shooting very low around the Old Course in the afternoon following a disappointing 75 but with weather conditions worsening that may prove to be beyond him.

Among the others who kept themselves in the hunt for qualification were Scot Chris Doak and India's Shiv Kapur, who carded four under 68s on the Old Course, while Ryder Cup-winning captain Jose Maria Olazabal, himself a two-time major winner, appears to be out of contention after a 72.

Another Ryder Cup star Robert Karlsson also needs a low round after a 74 on the New Course.