Mickelson is leader as first-round is suspended in U.S. Open
Donald, a former No. 1, is one of the best players who hasn’t won a major. And he really hasn’t come close that often. But he had five birds and a bogey (at No. 5, which is certainly no sin) with the rugged five-hole closing stretch to go.
“I feel like I’m in pretty good control of my game,” said Donald, who closed with three straight birds. “It’s nice to get off to such a good start. That’s what you want to do.”
Scott, who also started on the first, has played 11. He, too, has one bogey, also at the fifth. He hasn’t finished outside the top 15 in his last six majors, the lowest being last year’s Open at the Olympic Club. That was also his best finish in this major. And this run has all come with Steve Williams, Tiger’s former caddie, on his bag.
Speaking of which, Woods is at plus-2 through 11, in case you took him with the first pick in the office pool. And he seemed to hurt his left wrist at the fifth when he hit a five-wood out of the rough. So there’s that story line moving onward.
Three are at two-under, including defending champion Webb Simpson. He’s played eight holes. Mathew Goggin and Australia’s Alistair Presnell, neither of whom probably were taken in any pool, have played six.
Nine are bunched at one-under. The only one who finished is Nicolas Colsaerts. Lee Westwood, who’s been trying to win a major forever, has put 13 holes behind him.
A mere 19 are in the scrum at even. Five have finished, including 2011 Masters champ Charl Schwartzel and Rickie Fowler, who performed so well here in the 2009 Walker Cup. And Jason Day, who was leading the Masters in April with three holes to go. Of those who have work left to do, 2011 winner McIlroy (who’s also the reigning PGA champ) has navigated 11 holes, while two-time champ Ernie Els, who won the British Open last July, is through eight.
“I told (USGA executive director Mike Davis) this is the best setup I’ve ever seen for a U.S. Open,” Mickelson applauded. “I think what I love ... (is) they made the hard holes even harder. You’re going to be able to separate yourself from the field by making pars. But on the easy holes, they didn’t trick them up and take away your birdie opportunities.
“This was as easy as this golf course is going to play. And we are struggling, because it’s such a penalizing golf course. They’re some of the most pitched greens we’ve ever seen, and they’re very quick. It’s a course that’s withstood the test of time, and it’s challenging the best. I think it’s going to get even more difficult.”
Just like most other U.S. Opens. So maybe it’s OK to exhale now.
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