EURO 2016

McIlroy races off US Open course to watch Northern Ireland

Niall McGinn clinched the win for Northern Ireland
Niall McGinn clinched the win for Northern Ireland

Rory McIlroy found hugely enjoyable ways to pass the time as bad weather disrupted the opening day of the 116th US Open on Thursday.

Three hours and 45 minutes of play was lost at Oakmont due to thunderstorms, but the two delays turned out to be perfectly timed for watching England and Northern Ireland in action in the European Championships.

Play was then suspended for the first time shortly after 10am, with Lee Westwood and playing partners Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer on the 16th green.

That left the Ryder Cup team-mates with a short walk across the 17th fairway to the media centre, where they took shelter from the rain and watched the action unfold in Lens, arriving just a few minutes before Jamie Vardy's equaliser against Wales.

The suspension lasted long enough to watch the rest of the game before play resumed after a 79-minute delay, although only 44 minutes of play was possible before more bad weather forced the players off the course.

McIlroy, Danny Willett and Rickie Fowler were on the ninth fairway at the time and McIlroy took advantage by sprinting to the clubhouse to catch the remainder of Northern Ireland's game against Ukraine.

And just as Niall McGinn's stoppage-time goal secured a 2-0 win, tournament officials announced that the range had opened ahead of a second resumption.