US Open golf: Mickelson and Donald out in front on day oneJune, 2013
Phil Mickelson shot his best opening round at the US Open since 1999, while Tiger Woods struggled to find rhythm...
On a day that will be remembered primarily for weather delays, Phil Mickelson carded a classy 67 to take the clubhouse lead in the first round of the 2013 US Open.
After bogeying the 11th – his opening hole – it seemed the American’s decision to bypass last-minute Major preparation and visit his daughter’s eighth-grade graduation in California was a mistake.
Indeed, after 5,600 miles in his jet, the left-hander arrived in Ardrmore at 03:30am, less than four hours before his tee time. Not the best preparation for a Major by any stretch.
However, five hours after the organisers first suspended play for electrical activity, and following a nap in a quiet corner of the locker room, Mickelson found himself four birdies better off and sitting on the clubhouse lead.
His three-under 67 is his best opening gambit in the US Open since 1999 and he was rightfully pleased, though very modest.
“The golf course is playing about as easy as it could, but Merion is really fighting hard. It’s one of the best US Open venues I’ve seen,” he said.
Lefty’s conservative approach was key to his scoring. With no driver in the bag, he was able to plot his away around the short yet narrow layout and putted excellently.
Luke Donald, showcasing stellar iron play and short game skill – not unlike his 2011 best – snatched the lead with three birdies in a row from the 11th. By the time the air-horn sounded again, around 1800 local time, he was safely in the clubhouse, with only Peter Hedblom – who later dropped back to one-under – for company at the top.
After a 20-minute lay-off, play restarted and the field began to make up ground. Luke Donald, showcasing stellar iron play and short game skill – not unlike his 2011 best – snatched the lead with three birdies in a row from the 11th, but darkness stopped play and halted his momentum.
Adam Scott, following a shaky start that included two very thin strikes, is a further shot back through 11 holes. The Australian, paired with an out-of-sorts Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, mixed four birdies with a single bogey but has difficult holes in front of him, as does Donald.
The World No 1 appeared to damage his left wrist on the opening hole and was noticeably struggling as the round progressed. Poor putting and wayward irons were to blame for his two-over score through 10, and it isn’t looking good for fans of the American.
Rory McIlroy fared slightly better – neutralising his two dropped shots with a brace of birdies to be right in the mix on level par.
The remainder of the first round will be played from 07:15 (12:15 BST) and the second round officially starts at 09:45 (14:45 BST). The USGA are still playing catch-up – the second round will not be completed in full by the end of today.
1 Luke Donald -4 through 13
T2 Phil Mickelson -3 F
T2 Adam Scott -3 through 11
T4 Webb Simpson -2 through 8
T4 Matthew Goggin -2 through 6
T4 Alistair Presnell -2 through 6
T7 Nicolas Colsaerts -1 F
T7 Lee Westwood -1 through 13
T16 Rickie Fowler E F
T16 Rory McIlroy E through 11
T35 Justin Rose +1 F
T35 Ian Poulter +1 F
T51 Tiger Woods +2 through 10
T78 Sergio Garcia +3 F