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Juggling family and golf, Mickelson leads US Open
ARDMORE, PA. (AP) - So much for getting a good night’s sleep.
“I might have used just a little caffeine booster at the turn just to keep me sharp,” Mickelson said. “But that was our ninth hole or so, and I just wanted to make sure I had enough energy.”
Mickelson flew overnight from San Diego after watching his oldest daughter’s eighth-grade graduation, where she was one of the featured speakers. At first, he was a little shaky. But after rolling a birdie putt 8 feet past his first hole and putting his tee shot in the rough at his second, he settled himself _helped by a little more sleep during a rain delay.
It was his lowest opening round since 1999 in a championship he’s never won, even though he keeps coming close. He’s been runner-up a record five times.
By the time Mickelson tapped in a par to complete his round, the sun had replaced clouds, and putters had long replaced squeegees. Drenching storms caused a 3 1/2-hour delay, halting play less than two hours after it began.
Woods winced and shook his left arm after playing shots out of the rough on Nos. 1 and 5. The horn sounded before the three-time Open champion could finish the 5th hole, and he returned after the delay to complete a bogey. He also had a pair of 3-putts and was 2 over at the turn.
Scott was 2 under through nine, while McIlroy was 1 under. Lee Westwood was 3 under through 11, and defending champion Webb Simpson was 2 under through seven, but Mickelson and Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts (69) were the only players in the clubhouse under par.
Merion was as challenging as advertised, despite the onslaught of storms that softened the course during the past week. The slanting greens and heavy rough valued precision over power. Ian Poulter had quite the start, with only one par spaced among four birdies and three bogeys through nine holes on the way to a 71.
Sergio Garcia birdied the 102-yard par-3 13th, but that was an aberration in a terrible start for the Spaniard, who has spent the lead-up to the tournament trying to make amends with Woods. Garcia had a quadruple bogey, double bogey and a bogey in his first five holes, but he later went birdie-eagle on the front nine on the way to a 73.
Garcia was greeted with mild applause and a few audible boos when he was introduced at the start of his round. He is playing his first tournament in the U.S. since a recent exchange with Woods hit a low point when Garcia said he would serve fried chicken if Woods came to dinner during the Open. Garcia has since apologized for the remark. He shook hands with Woods on the practice range this week and left a note in Woods‘ locker. He was also noticeably friendly to the gallery during Wednesday’s practice round, stopping several times to sign autographs.
“I think there were a couple here and there,” he said. “But there was _ I felt the people were very nice for the whole day. I think that they, almost all of them, were behind me and that was nice to see.”
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
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