“I just putted horrific,” Phil Mickelson admitted after round one of the US Open. “ It’s very frustrating for me to miss all those opportunities. I don’t mind making a bad swing here, there, making a bogey here, there. It’s part of the US Open.”
Mickelson came off practice sessions with Dave Stockton and thought he was ready to go. While he was rolling the ball well, he said there was just “something off.”
It led to a +4 round. While not an impossible hill to climb, he will certainly need some sturdy cleats to attempt it.
Ahead of him on the leaderboard as the work day ended on the east coast are Ian Poulter, K.J. Choi, and Mike Weir, all tied at -1 with their rounds completed, a five-shot spread for Mickelson to bridge on Friday. While Mickelson’s score puts him in a tie for 105th , there is a ten shot rule at the US Open which means that any golfer within 10 of the lead after two rounds will play the final two rounds. So barring absolute disaster, +4 in round one may be a hiccup for Mickelson, but not a tournament ender. So not to worry, Philly Mick fans. He just can’t do the same thing tomorrow.
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, was even through nine holes. Lee Westwood, playing with Woods, did not fare as well and was +3 through seven. And Ernie Els, playing with Woods and Westwood was at even par.
Tom Watson, who won the US Open at Pebble Beach in 1982 with a dramatic chip-in at the 17th , was at +3 headed into the 18th, his first nine holes..
For reasons that no one could explain, golfers struggled with holes one through five, the first three of which are more sheltered. Ian Poulter, who birdied the third, could not provide a reason why there were low scores on the supposedly hard ocean holes, and fewer lower scores on the inland holes. “It’s golf I guess,” he said with a shrug of the shoulders. Weir and Choi both bogeyed the final two holes. Poulter made par at the 18th from two bunkers.
Oddest shot: Ryan Moore hit a fairway wood to the 17th green, flew it and it rolled onto and over the 18th tee and lodged in the muff underneath the railing. The muff saved the ball from the ocean below, and Moore got a free drop, hit back over the green and into a bunker but made bogey. The bad news: The17th was only his eighth hole.