The Washington Times - June 16, 2011, 01:47PM

With Tiger Woods out of the field with injuries, Phil Mickelson is the biggest star at Congressional Country Club for the U.S. Open. Thursday was Mickelson’s 41st birthday.

But he didn’t have a lot to celebrate early as his tournament got off to a wet start.


Mickelson’s first tee shot on No. 10 dropped right into the water. He wound up two-putting for double-bogey 5 on the par-3 hole.

The 10th hole is widely considered the harder place to start – especially for guys who began in the afternoon with the wind picking up and the greens drying out.

“That’s one of the few holes out here that I really don’t like,” Fred Funk said. “I don’t think it matches the rest of the golf course.”

Interestingly, two of the past three Open champions have opened with double-bogeys: Tiger Woods in 2008 and Lucas Glover in 2009. So all is not lost for Mickelson’s hopes.

He finished the day with a 3-over 74 and chose not to speak with reporters. A USGA pool reporter caught up with him later and Mickelson had this (among other things) to say:

“This actually turned out to be a great day because I played horrific. I starter out hitting a good shot into the water making double. And to hit it where I did today and to walk away only 3-over, I’m still in it where if I get this thing turned around, shoot a good round [Friday], I’ll be right back in it.

“But this could have been a day that [could] easily have been in the 80s, and somehow I was able to get myself around and be only 3-over.”