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Six-time major champ Phil Mickelson celebrated his birthday at The Country Club in Brookline on Thursday. Mickelson turned 52 but turned in an 8-over 78 in the first round of the U.S. Open — raining on Lefty’s parade after an already contentious month.
“I really enjoyed the test; I think it’s just a spectacular golf course,” Mickelson told reporters after Thursday’s action. “I just really struggled with the putter the first few holes, just like I did last week.”
Mickelson got off to a difficult start, carding a double-bogey and five-over par after six holes.
One of Mickelson’s high points of the day came on an 8-foot birdie on the par-3 11th. Lefty quickly erased memory of the highlight after shooting a double bogey on the par-4 12th, sinking Mickelson to 7 over.
A four-putt sweep from 12 feet on the par-3 sixth blew out the candles early for Mickelson.
It was a day to forget as the former champ walked away from the first round, tied for 144th place out of 154.
Mickelson will need to climb his way to the top 60 on Friday to avoid an early cut from the Open.
After joining Greg Norman’s inaugural LIV Golf Invitational for a $200 million payday, partially funded by the Saudis, Mickelson’s return to the American spotlight was expected to be a difficult one.
USGA CEO Mike Whan announced that LIV participants would be allowed to play the Open, but may face disciplinary action in the future stemming from the Saudi-backed series. The PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan announced a ban and potential fines for LIV golfers.
Mickelson is one of 17 golfers suspended by the Tour.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela