Wrong train: Mickelson opens with 73 in bizarre first round at Open
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Wrong train: Mickelson opens with 73 in bizarre first round at Open

No trains ran along Royal Lytham and St. Annes on Thursday in Day 1 of the Open Championship, but Phil Mickelson still managed to hop on one he's been on for a while.

Mickelson opened with 3-over 73 at Lytham on Day 1 to fall nine shots back of leader Adam Scott.

The four-time major winner's assessment of his round was, well, blunt.

“I putted poorly today and I drove it horrific and the chipping was below average,” he said. “I hit it terribly. I hit it in the rough – and the rough is not very playable. And you've got to keep it into the fairway, end of story. I hit some bad long irons.”

Pretty much Mickelson's entire game failed him at some point or another on Thursday. He nearly lost his ball twice, at the third and eighth holes, needing a rules official to help him out both times.

Mickelson asked for some form of unknown relief after not being able to see his ball at the third, but received none.

He asked for relief from an embedded ball at the eighth, but the R&A has no such rule from the rough. Mickelson took an unplayable lie, but salvaged bogey.

The 73 was the 10th over-par effort for Mickelson in his last 12 competitive rounds. Aside from a blistering 15-under stretch in the middle part of last week's Scottish Open, he has been unable to wrangle par. A post-round practice session with Butch Harmon may be a Band-Aid to get through to the weekend.

“I have not played well for a while," he said, "so I'm not sure if this is a long term thing or short term or what."

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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