Martin, Zhang go in opposite directions

Amateur Andy Zhang of China tees off on the third hole during the first round of the 2012 U.S. Open...

Amateur Andy Zhang of China tees off on the third hole during the first round of the 2012 U.S. Open golf tournament on the Lake Course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California June 14, 2012. (REUTERS)

KIRK PENTON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:57 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO - One of the feel-good stories of the week got off to a great start Thursday.

The same couldn't be said for the other.

Casey Martin, who needs to use a cart during his rounds because of a leg deformity, fired a four-over-par 74 Thursday afternoon to find himself in the middle of the pack. It was quite the comeback for the University of Oregon golf coach, who started out with bogeys on five of his first six holes and was one-under the rest of the way.

"I want to do well so bad that I don't want to get in my way," Martin said. "So (Friday) it will just be a real challenge to stay relaxed and try to enjoy it."

Martin is playing in just his second major after winning his sectional qualifier earlier this month. Coincidentally, his only other major appearance was 14 years ago -- in the U.S. Open at Olympic.

While Martin has a great opportunity to cash a cheque this weekend, 14-year-old amateur Andy Zhang will likely play his second -- and final -- round Friday.

Zhang, who is believed to be the youngest competitor in U.S. Open history, made a long putt on 18 to card a 79. He tripled the first hole, doubled the second and didn't make his first par until the sixth.

The youngster, who was born in China but has lived in Florida since he was 10, admitted to being a nervous wreck on the first tee.

"I was, yes," he said. "I was like, just please don't hit a 100-yard slice off the first tee and I was shaking really hard. But I hit a great shot."

And after he calmed down and got through the ridiculously difficult first six holes, he was one-over the rest of the way.


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