SAN FRANCISCO – Sure, it’s early, but Phil Mickelson’s bid to win his first U.S. Open hit a serious roadblock Thursday with a first-round 76 that easily could’ve been several shots higher.
Mickelson’s high-profile round with Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson was bizarre from the start. Beginning on the par-4 ninth hole (yes, the ninth hole – it’s closer to the clubhouse than the 10th hole so they’re beginning rounds there) Lefty blew his opening drive well right and into a tree. The ball never dropped and he had to head back to the tee to hit another ball and ultimately made a good bogey.
But two more bogeys continued on the next two holes and he made bogeys on five of the first eight holes. He ended with seven bogeys and a birdie on the day.
“I fought hard there for awhile trying to keep it a few over,” Mickelson said. “But it was a tough day when you play it the way I did.”
Mickelson continued to spray the ball though and did well to salvage 76 in a round that looked like it was heading toward 80.
“I’ve got a tough challenge just to get to the weekend tomorrow,” Mickelson said. “Unfortunately. But I think that we don't get to see or have the opportunity to test ourselves under such a difficult condition so I'll go out tomorrow and see if I can shoot something under par.”