Mickelson flies high at Merion; N.H.'s Smith 16th
“Pretty good, a good start,” Mickelson told reporters after making do with just a few hours’ sleep on his private jet while returning from San Diego where he had attended his oldest daughter Amanda’s eighth grade graduation ceremony.
Long-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts opened with a 69 while former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, fellow South African Tim Clark, Australian Jason Day and Americans Jerry Kelly and Rickie Fowler carded 70s.
Americans Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson, and English world number five Justin Rose, were among a group of 10 players knotted on 71.
This followed two earlier suspensions which forced the opening round to spill over into Friday.
When play eventually resumed, however, Poulter immediately fell back with a bogey at the par-four 14th, where his drive ended up in heavy, wet rough and he ended his round with a 71.
The 42-year-old rolled in a curling 25-foot birdie putt at the par-four first, then did well to save par at the fifth where his tee shot nearly ended up in a stream.
“I hit five-iron to the middle and it was uphill left-to-right,’’ Mickelson said of his long-range birdie putt. “The odds aren’t good, but it rolled in and felt great.”
“This is the best setup I’ve ever seen for a U.S. Open,” he said. “It’s a course that’s withstood the test of time and it’s challenging the best players in the world this week.”
While players were able to attack the pins on greens made more receptive by torrential rain during the championship build-up and again on Thursday morning, big numbers were likely for anyone missing the fairway.
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