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Thursday, June 14, 2012
Woods rolls, Mickelson and Watson falter

By ESPN Stats & Information


Harry How/Getty ImagesWoods broke par in the 1st Round at the U.S. Open for the first time since 2002.
The premier group of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson certainly provided varied results in the 1st Round of the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club. While Mickelson and Masters champion Watson struggled mightily, Woods cruised to a 1-under 69.

In 17 U.S. Open events, Woods has now finished under par four times in the 1st Round, but Thursday marked the first time since 2002 that he has accomplished that feat. Woods has never finished worse than third in the previous three occasions, and what's more, has gone on to win twice.

Woods is a 3-time U.S. Open champion, and with his next win will tie Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Willie Anderson for the most U.S. Open wins.

It was a completely different story for Watson, however, as he carded eight holes of bogey or worse en route to a 78. That nearly matches the worst 1st Round at a U.S. Open by the reigning Masters champion, which is held by Ben Crenshaw (80 in 1984).

It wasn't a huge surprise, as Watson had never faired well in the 1st Round in five previous U.S. Open appearances. Entering today, he had never had a 1st Round under par and was +11 overall.

As for Mickelson, his 1st Round was not much better. He tied his career worst 1st Round at the U.S. Open by carding a 76, and began a major with three scores worse than par for the first time as a professional.

Mickelson and Watson may want to play with someone different Friday. In his last two competitive rounds, Woods has watched playing partner Rickie Fowler shoot 84 (+12) in the Final Round of the Memorial Tournament and now Watson and Mickelson combine to shoot +14 today.