American golfer Steve Marino has grabbed the early lead at the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland (near Washington).

Marino shot a 5-under-par, 65 in the opening round Thursday, for a one-shot lead over four players.

Australian Rod Pampling along with Americans Jeff Overton, Frank Lickliter and Bob Estes each carded a 4-under-par, 66 on the course that will host the 2011 U.S. Open. German Alex Cejka is among seven players two shots off the pace (67). Defending champion K.J. Choi of South Korea opened at 2-under-par, 68.

World number one golfer Tiger Woods is the tournament host. But the U.S. Open champion is absent while he recovers from knee surgery. The tournament is in just its second year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.