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Wednesday September 28th, 2022 12:01PM

US Open updates: A rough start for Mickelson on birthday

By The Associated Press
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BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open (all times local):

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3:45 p.m.

Welcome back to American golf, Phil Mickelson.

The fans have been supportive to Mickelson at the U.S. Open. The golf course? Not so much. Mickelson missed the first green from the fairway and started his 31st U.S. Open with a bogey. It really got bad on the par-3 sixth hole when he four-putted from about 18 feet.

Mickelson was 5-over par through six holes at the U.S. Open, the only major keeping him from career Grand Slam. It probably wasn't the birthday present he had in mind. Mickelson turned 52 on Thursday.

Mickelson is the chief leader of PGA Tour players taking Saudi riches to play in the LIV Golf series. He played last week for the first time in four months, and there appears to be plenty of rust still in his game.

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2:25 p.m.

Joel Dahmen has made it a foursome atop the U.S. Open leaderboard among the early starters at The Country Club. Dahmen joins Rory McIlroy, David Lingmerth and Callum Tarren at 67.

Conditions are about as gentle as can be expected. There was cloud cover in the morning that kept the greens protected from crisp and moderate wind.

And to think Dahmen wasn't sure he would be at Brookline.

Ten days ago, he was looking at the forecast and debating whether he wanted to spend 36 holes in the rain during a Monday qualifier in Ohio. In the end, he decided to go. And there was rain late in the day. He made it with one shot to spare.

Phil Mickelson leads the wave in the afternoon. Mickelson had a bogey from the fairway on the first hole and is 1 over through two holes.

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1:15 p.m.

Rory McIlroy slammed his club twice in a bunker. Later, he chucked an iron across the fairway.

Imagine what he might’ve done had he been playing bad.

Despite his problems down the stretch, McIlroy finished his opening round at The Country Club on Thursday tied for the U.S. Open lead. He shot 3-under 67 to finish even with Callum Tarren and David Lingmerth with most of the morning rounds complete.

McIlroy closed with a bogey on No. 9 — his only bogey of the day — after flying his approach right of the flag, then flinging the club to the ground.

He was 2 under when he reached the drivable par-4 fifth, but he blocked his drive right and ended up with a terrible lie – the ball in deep grass just above a bunker. Perched atop mounds of sand in the bunker, McIlroy barely made contact and knocked it into the next trap, then slammed his club twice into the bunker in frustration.

But he got up and down from the sand, sinking a putt of 13 feet to save par.

McIlroy is going for his fifth major title but his first since the 2014 PGA Championship. He came to Brookline on the heels of a victory at the Canadian Open last week.

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12:45 p.m.

It’s usually a good thing when a player gets invited to the TV booth at the U.S. Open after his round. But during the round?

Defending champion Jon Rahm found himself encroaching on NBC after he pulled his tee shot on No. 18 hard left and just under the fence that surrounds the tower from which the American telecast originates.

He got a drop from the tower, hit the approach to 21 feet and made the putt for a birdie to close his day at 1-under 69. He had just saved par after an equally wild drive on No. 17.

A heck of a finish for Rahm, who struggled with his swing across the back nine. He pushed a handful of approaches to the right and missed three drives in the left rough. At one point after a miss on No. 15, he commented, “I don’t know what’s going on there.”

He saved his wildest swing for the last tee box, sailing the shot so far left that, after finding the ball near Mike Tirico and Co., he actually had a good look at the green from 130 yards.

“If that doesn’t scream to you it’s the Open,” then nothing will, he said. “Sometimes you play good golf and can’t get things going and sometimes you get a break.”

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11:55 a.m.

Callum Tarren is the first one in the clubhouse and in the lead after a spectacular finish in the first round of the U.S. Open at The Country Club.

The 31-year-old Englishman shot a 3-under-par 67 on Thursday, picking up four strokes in four holes to move to the top of the leaderboard. David Lingmerth was also at 3 under, with a few holes to play.

Tarren was nowhere to be found on the leaderboard, still 1 over through 13 holes when he birdied the fifth and seventh holes and then made eagle on the 557-yard, par-5 eighth hole.

Amateur Stewart Hagestad and majors winners Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy were among those a stroke back at 2 under.

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11:50 a.m.

Rory McIlroy took out his frustration on a sand trip on the approach to the fifth green in the first round of this year’s tournament at The Country Club.

The 2011 U.S. Open champion drove into the lip of a bunker on the right side of the 310-yard, par-4 hole. The ball was in deep grass, and McIlroy had to stand in the bunker below the ball to put a baseball swing on it.

After adjusting his feet several times — he kept slipping into the sand while he took aim — McIlroy knocked the ball straight into another bunker beside the green. That’s when he took two angry swings, sending sand flying.

McIlroy managed to hit his next shot onto the green and made a 12-footer to save par.

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10:45 a.m.

Amateur Stewart Hagestad had back-to-back birdies on the seventh and eighth holes at The Country Club to move into a tie for the lead early in Thursday’s first round.

The 31-year-old Californian is playing in the U.S. Open for the fourth time. He has never made the cut. He also played in the Masters twice and was the low amateur at Augusta in 2017.

Hagestad was tied with reigning British Open champion Collin Morikawa. Matthew NeSmith was also at 3-under par.

2011 U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy was among those a stroke back at 2 under. Defending champion John Rahm dropped to 1 under after a bogey on the ninth hole.

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9:45 a.m.

Jon Rahm's defense of his U.S. Open title is off to a good start. The Spaniard is tied for the lead at 2-under par through his first eight holes at The Country Club.

Also at 2 under are 2020 PGA champ Collin Morikawa, South Carolina's Matt NeSmith and Sebastian Munoz of Colombia.

All 78 players from the morning rounds are on the course. Earlier in the day, Abraham Ancer pulled out due to illness. He was replaced in the field by Patton Kizzire, who tees off in the afternoon.

Also playing late are Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed. They are among the most high-profile players who recently announced they would play in the new LIV Tour.

The new series and how it might impact professional golf has been a hot topic this week at The Country Club, which is hosting the U.S. Open for the first time since 1988.

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6:50 a.m.

Finally, golf is the focus again in the U.S. Open.

Michael Thorbjornsen opened the 122nd edition of the toughest test in golf with a tee shot just right of the first fairway at The Country Club. The amateur who plays at Stanford grew up about 10 minutes away from Brookline.

The U.S. Open dipped into the alternate list for the first time. Abraham Ancer of Mexico withdrew because of an illness. He was replaced by Patton Kizzire.

Next in line if anyone else withdraws is Rickie Fowler.

The days leading into the U.S. Open were filled mostly with chatter and consternation about the Saudi-funded rebel series called LIV Golf that is offering big riches to Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and a dozen others who are in the U.S. Open.

The PGA Tour has suspended them, although the U.S. Open is run separately and is honoring the open nature of its championship.

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More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Sports, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Golf, AP Sports - PGA
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