Playing on his 52nd birthday, Mickelson struggled to score an eight out of 78, with only seven of the 156 players scoring lower. The six-time major winner must finish in the top 60 at the end of Friday’s second round to avoid being cut.
A 45-time winner on the PGA Tour, the US Open remains the only major to elude Mickelson, who has finished second in the event a record six times. He arrived at the first tee to the cheers of a large crowd gathered to watch.
However, the discomfort from the start of the week quickly continued as Mickelson bugged three of the first five holes.
A superb tee shot to the green on the next par three looked set to lift the American, before three disastrous putt attempts finally left Mickelson sinking for a double bogey and a par five after just six holes.
Sandwiched between a bogey and a double bogey, a birdie on the 11th hole provided brief respite, before five straight pars stabilized the ship.
The cheers and cheers continued throughout from the fans, but an exasperated grimace and nod after curling an approach shot from the tall grass onto the green and into the rough of the final hole epitomized the woes of Mickelson, who eventually tapped home for a closure. bogey.
Hadwin sets the tone
An impressive performance from Hadwin secured a surprise early lead, with the Canadian carding four under 66.
The 34-year-old – whose only PGA Tour victory came at the Valspar Championship in 2017 – birdied five of the front nine before shooting par in the second half of the course to hold his one-shot lead . .
Ranked 105th in the world, Hadwin showed no signs of nervousness at the top of the leaderboard.
“Amazingly, quite comfortable,” Hadwin told Sky Sports. “I was comfortable, which was nice at the US Open because it doesn’t happen very often.
“Particularly in a big event like this, it’s a bit easy to get the spirit going once you see your name at the top of the leaderboard and you start playing well, but I did a great job in focusing on each individual shot.”
McIlroy fired up among the chasers
The four-time major winner got off to a good start, carding two under before suffering a nightmarish bunker-to-bunker shot on the fourteenth hole.
An angry reaction followed, but McIlroy recovered superbly to save par. With successive birdies on the penultimate two holes, he had looked set to finish in style before a clumsy approach shot on the final hole left the 33-year-old ‘a bit frustrated’ despite a start quite promising.
“It’s good, it’s something to learn,” McIlroy told reporters.
“Sitting here talking about the bad stuff when 17 of the holes were really good – I’m happy with the start.”
Going on with his first major triumph in eight years, McIlroy looked fired up throughout, with a frustrated club throw on the final hole adding to his reaction four holes earlier. Asked about the change from his usual manner, McIlroy said it was necessary to unleash his competitive anger from time to time.
“To remind you sometimes how much this means to you,” he explained.
“The margins are so good in this tournament, and I think you can see that with some of the reactions.”
PGA Tour rookie dazzles
McIlroy is tied with Swede David Lingmerth, American Joel Dahmen, South African MJ Daffue, as well as PGA Tour rookie Callum Tarren.
Ranked 445th in the world and arriving in qualification, the Englishman was among the first to start and returned to the clubhouse as the first leader.
A scintillating front nine saw Tarren sink three birdies and an eagle on the eighth hole. The 31-year-old bogeyed the tenth but settled for eight successive pars to cap a first round beyond even Tarren’s wildest dreams.
“I pinch myself a bit,” Tarren told reporters. “I didn’t realize he was top of the leaderboard until I made that final putt on the 9th hole.
“I’m just excited about my departure, and let’s see what the next few days have in store for us.”
Defending champion Jon Rahm trails Hadwin by three strokes after carding an under 69, with American duo Colin Morikawa and Justin Thomas shooting the same score.
Scottie Scheffler shot a par-70, the world No. 1 chasing his second major of the year after winning the green jacket at the Masters in April.
Friday’s second round is scheduled to begin with the first groups at 6:45 a.m. ET
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