Phil Mickelson's 'hideous' moment at US Open amid LIV golf furore

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Phil Mickelson, pictured here during a nightmarish four-putt in the opening round of the US Open.
Phil Mickelson had a nightmarish four-putt in the opening round of the US Open. Image: USGA/Getty

Phil Mickelson looked like a man under pressure as he made a nightmare start to the US Open on Thursday at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.

The American veteran made an 8-over 78 in the first round, finishing the day tied for 144th in the 156-player field.

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Things went pear-shaped for Mickelson on the par-3 sixth hole as he endured a horror four-putt to finish with double-bogey.

Mickelson hit his tee shot to 12 feet, then waited while Louis Oosthuizen almost chipped in from the rough and Shane Lowry (putting on almost Mickelson's exact line) just missed to the right.

Looking for his first birdie, Mickelson blew it three feet past the hole.

He then missed the next two putts from close range before mercifully tapping in on the fourth attempt.

Mickelson earlier missed par saves from seven feet on No.1 and eight feet on No.3.

He needed 32 putts overall, which ranked him 120th, marking the sixth-straight time he's failed to break par in the opening round of the US Open.

Eric Engels of Sportsnet described Mickelson's showing as "hideous to watch".

Along with CEO Greg Norman, Mickelson has become the face of the controversial LIV golf series - a breakaway league from the PGA Tour funded by Saudi Arabia.

Mickelson has faced constant criticism over his decision to join the $3 billion rebel league, and looked like a man under serious mental strain on Thursday.

He didn't stop to talk to reporters after his nightmare round.

Despite being banned from the PGA Tour, there are 15 players aligned with LIV Golf who are taking part in the US Open.

Phil Mickelson, pictured here in action during the opening round of the US Open.
Phil Mickelson in action during the opening round of the US Open. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Altogether, those 15 players combined to shoot 53-over on Thursday.

Two-time major winner Dustin Johnson and 2021 US Amateur champion James Piot were two of the only LIV players to shine.

Johnson fired a two-under par 68 to share seventh, with fellow American Piot on 69 to share 14th.

But Oosthuizen shot 77, Australia's Jed Morgan had an 82, Spain's Sergio Garcia shot 74 and South African Branden Grace was on 76 after sharing third in last week's LIV Golf debut event in England.

The US Golf Association chose not to follow a PGA Tour ban of 17 golfers who played in last week's LIV opener, instead staying faithful to this year's US Open qualifying standards.

LIV Golf offers the largest purses in the sport's history at $25 million per regular-season event - $7.5 million more than this week's US Open prize money total.

Adam Hadwin takes surprise first-round lead at US Open

Canadian Adam Hadwin fired a four-under 66 to snatch the first-round lead on Thursday.

Hadwin surged ahead of Northern Ireland's in-form former World No.1 Rory McIlroy, who shared the lead at the conclusion of his round before ending up in a five-way tie for second place at three-under 67.

McIlroy was tied with Joel Dahmen, England's Callum Tarren, David Lingmerth of Sweden and MJ Daffue of South Africa.

England's Matt Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose, as well as Americans Johnson, Hayden Buckley, Matthew NeSmith, Brian Harman and Aaron Wise, were tied for seventh.

Hadwin compiled five birdies in a six-hole stretch to make the turn at four-under 31.

That included three-straight birdies from the seventh hole, with his second shot at the par-4 ninth rolling to inside three feet of the pin.

After a bogey at the par-4 12th, Hadwin recovered with a birdie at the par-4 13th to re-establish himself as the sole leader.

The 34-year-old earned his sole PGA Tour victory in 2017. He has never finished inside the top 20 at a major.

with agencies

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