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US Open: Phil Mickelson misses chances, but has no complaints

By Phil Casey

Phil Mickelson was left to rue a missed opportunity despite making a solid start in his bid to win the US Open and complete the career grand slam at Chambers Bay.

Mickelson, who has finished runner-up a record six times, was among the early starters and took advantage of flat calm conditions to reach the turn in three under par.

However, the five-time major winner then carded three bogeys and one birdie on the back nine to card an opening 69 to finish one under par.

"I played well," Mickelson said.

"I had a really nice round going and then made bogey on 13 and 14.

"I think the 13th is the hardest approach shot into the green. I did not leave myself the best shot and was way too far back and then made a good bogey on the next.

"(But) no complaints. I'm under par in the first round of the US Open and I am pretty pleased.

"I thought it was a very fair test. The set-up was good.

"I think everyone in the field is going to struggle with three to eight-foot putts when they are downhill because you can't hit it hard enough to hold the line and there is a lot of wiggle."

Mickelson had looked in trouble on the opening hole, missing the green to the left and seeing his ball roll down a steep slope onto the adjacent 18th fairway.

However, the 45-year-old - who celebrated his birthday on Tuesday - displayed his renowned short game skills by pitching to within inches of the hole to save par. The fans, who love him in the USA, savoured what was a stunning shot.

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