Phil Mickelson has set himself the task of wiping an equal worst U.S. Open first round while reigning Masters champion, Bubba Watson admitted the Oympic Club easily beat the Augusta National winning hero on day one of the 2012 U.S. Open.
Mickelson has seven bogeys including losing a ball in a tree at the ninth, and just one birdie in his round of a six-over par 76 for his equal worst start in 23 straight U.S. Open appearances.
Not since an opening day 76 in the 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills in Michigan has Mickelson played so poorly in his national Open championship.
“It’s a very challenging test,” said Mickelson.
“I think that if you play it effectively, if you strike it well and control your ball flight the way Tiger (Woods) did, the way a couple other guys did you can shoot par or better.
“We don’t get a chance to play under these conditions very often, so tomorrow I’m going to try to see if I can just shoot around under par. That will be a good challenge for me.
“I have got to wipe this round out and I really can’t think about the lead or anything I just got to make the cut right now and to do that I got to shoot something under par.”
Mickelson had plenty of company with Watson, the reigning Masters champion posting a 79 for his worst ever score in 16 rounds of the U.S. Open.
A check of Watson’s first round scorecard shows just one birdie at the par five, 17th but also eight bogeys along with an 18th hole double bogey.
Watson’s previous poorest score in a U.S. Open was a second round 77 to miss the halfway cut in the 2008 championship at Torrey Pines
“The golf course beat me up today,” said Watson.
“It’s winning by eight shots right now. It’s a lot better than I am, and the golf course is too tough for me.
“But we got another day to try to fit and but there’s you’re always going to have guys that shoot low. Tiger Woods is always going to shoot low. Other guys will play good and Tiger going to play good.”