DARLINGTON'S Callum Tarren admitted he was stunned to find his name on top of the leaderboard on day one of the US Open at Brookline.

The World number 445 carded an eagle, three birdies and two bogeys in an opening 67 matched by Rory McIlroy, David Lingmerth and Joel Dahmen from the morning starters.

“I’m kind of pinching myself because I didn’t realise my name was on the top of the leaderboard until I holed that final putt,” said Tarren, who was a student at Darlington's Eastbourne Comprehensive and Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College before turning professional, and who first played golf at Dinsdale Spa.

“I started off a little bit shaky. I won’t lie, I was nervous. I had, I think, 25 feet on my first hole (the 10th) and three-putted it, which wasn’t great, but then after three or four holes I kind of settled into the round.

“Like my caddie just kept saying, fairways, greens, pars are really good, and they are in a US Open. I think I made a birdie on one to get to even and then gave it straight back.

“I knew there was chances coming in, so I kind of stayed patient and tried to execute the golf shots I had in front of me, and happily I did.”

Tarren’s only previous major start came in the 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach, where his clubs did not arrive until Wednesday afternoon and he missed the cut.

The 32-year-old feared a repeat scenario when his clubs did not turn up after he travelled to Boston from last week’s Canadian Open, but this time the delay proved far shorter.

“Luckily, there was somebody in Canada who went to the airport and gave the airport staff a little kick and they arrived on Sunday at 2pm,” Tarren joked. “It wasn’t bad.

“I walked around with a wedge on Sunday just to get a feel for the golf course, and then I played 18 holes on Monday and nine on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“I think this golf course has a little bit of a links feel, so I’m used to playing a lot of links golf back home, so I’m pretty comfortable out here.”

McIlroy struggled to keep his emotions in check despite making an excellent start to his bid for a fifth major title.

A month after an opening 65 in the US PGA, it was another welcome good start to a major for McIlroy after previous struggles, but it was not without incident as he slammed one club into a bunker and threw another down the fairway in frustration.

After starting from the tenth, McIlroy had covered his first 13 holes in two under par before a pushed tee shot on the fifth finished in thick rough. He hacked his second shot into a bunker a few yards in front of him, prompting a furious reaction which saw him twice slam his club into the sand.