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U.S. Open, First Round Recap: Phil Mickelson takes big step toward history

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Phil Mickelson — Getty Images

• Phil Mickelson's opening round was incredible, but it was made even more special by the fact that the guy flew from San Diego to Philadelphia overnight after attending his daughter's 8th grade graduation.

• Luke Donald, seeking his first major win, had a pretty special close to his round before the horn blew on Thursday. Donald made birdies on Nos. 11, 12, and 13 to get to 4-under right as play was suspended and takes the overnight lead by a shot over Mickelson.

• Weather continued to be a factor at Merion, starting and stopping play during a lot of the opening round at the U.S. Open. The rains may have softened the golf course, but it definitely didn't make it easy, as bogeys were abundant for some of the biggest names in the golf.

• Tiger Woods started his first round late because of the rain delays, and it was his putter that seemed the most rusty. Despite a bomb of a birdie putt he made on the 6th, it was an ugly day on the greens for Woods, who sits at 2-over par with eight holes to play.

Phil Mickelson's 3-under 67 didn't exactly start off the way you'd hope. A three-putt bogey to begin his U.S. Open bid forced his caddie to tell him to slow down and take a minute before continuing his round. That advice seemed to help, as Mickelson didn't make another bogey all day and added four birdies, all well-earned on a golf course that doesn't give them up that easy.

The par-3 13th played just over 100 yards, which you wouldn't expect at the U.S. Open, but the change of yardage gave fans a chance to see plenty of near hole-in-ones. If you hit the ball past the hole and spun it back, you had a kick-in birdie, and if you left it short in the bunker you could make a 4. A cool idea for the first day of the U.S. Open by the USGA and a fun change for fans that wanted to sit at the same hole all day and enjoy some great golf shots.

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Sergio Garcia — Getty Images

This is the face of a guy that went double-bogey - quadruple-bogey in his opening round at Merion. To his credit, Sergio Garcia bounced back to post a round of 3-over 73, but still, sometimes you'd rather eat the scorecard than have to turn it in.

Mickelson came to the first hole even-par and needing something to happen, and this putt was it. The ball looked like it would certainly stop short, but it kept rolling and rolling before disappearing for the birdie and a jump-start to his back nine.

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Lee Westwood got a bad break on Thursday as his third shot on the 12th hole hit one of the famed wicker baskets at Merion and came back at him. He ended up making a double-bogey on the hole and dropping from 3-under to 1-under for the day.

It starts with the completion of the first round which well get going early on Friday morning at Merion. The chance of rain for the second round has lessened to just 30 percent, so it looks like the tournament will most likely get back on schedule.

Once golf resumes, it will be Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott finishing their first rounds and then begging their second rounds as they go early on Friday.

More U.S. Open coverage from Yahoo! Sports
Nightmare start for Sergio Garcia at U.S. Open
Phil Mickelson chooses fatherhood first, then races to U.S. Open lead
The secret to winning the U.S. Open?
Inside Tiger Woods' five-year majors drought

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