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History shows Mickelson's opening round is important

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PINEHURST, N.C. – If history holds, Phil Mickelson’s success at Pinehurst likely hinges on his Round 1 performance.

In each of his record six runners-up at the year’s second major, Lefty has shot par or better in the first round of the U.S. Open:

1999: 67 (-3)

2002: 70 (E)

2004: 68 (-2)

2006: 70 (E)

2009: 69 (-1)

2013: 67 (-3) 

Extended even further, Mickelson has 10 career top 10s at the Open. Eight times he has shot par or better in Round 1. The only times he didn’t: 1998, when he opened with a 1-over 71 en route to a T-10 finish; and 2010, when he shot 4-over 75 and finished T-4.