Sights, sounds and best moments from Round 1 of the 2022 U.S. Open

BROOKLINE, Mass. — Perhaps the talk of LIV Golf vs. the PGA Tour will subside for a few days, with the start of the U.S. Open at The Country Club officially here. Or, at least, until Phil Mickelson is on the course. Mickelson, the face of LIV Golf, is still searching for that one missing piece of his Grand Slam résumé: a U.S. Open win.

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During the first round, two kids ran off with defending champ Jon Rahm’s ball on the 18th hole. Rahm got a free drop on the hole while the kids snagged a souvenir.

While most eyes will be on Mickelson — and how he is received by the fans at this venue just outside Boston — there are plenty of other things to keep an eye on at the year’s third major.

We have you covered.

Not a good start for Mickelson

After making the turn at 5-over 40, Mickelson had a bogey on the par-4 10th to move to 6 over. He finally picked up a birdie on the par-3 11th with an 8-foot putt. But then things really got away from Lefty. He made a double bogey on the 12th hole, after pulling his tee shot into the deep rough on the right. He needed two shots to get back on the fairway and ended up carding a double-bogey 6 to drop to 7 over. — Mark Schlabach

Phil Mickelson four-putted the par-3 6th hole after landing his tee shot on the green about 15 feet from the hole. After missing a potential birdie putt, Mickelson pushed the par putt past the hole and missed the comeback putt for bogey.

“Wow,” he mouthed to himself as the third putt couldn’t find the hole.

Mickelson has yet to make a birdie and sits at 5 over after six holes. — Paolo Uggetti

Koepka’s early play

Two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka touched them all on the 15th hole.

Left with 205 yards to the hole after hitting his tee shot down the middle of the fairway, Koepka badly yanked his approach shot left. His ball flew into the grandstands and bounced around before coming to a rest.

After getting a free drop at the base of the grandstand, Koepka chipped to about 9 feet and made a par putt. He was 2 over after seven holes. — Mark Schlabach

Club throwing all the way to the top

After catching fire on the back half of his round and getting to 4-under, Rory McIlroy tried to go at the pin at the par-4 9th but missed long and right. He had backed off the shot twice and switched clubs beforehand. As he saw it land, McIlroy immediately threw his club. When he reached the green he kept pointing to the left, gesturing at how much room he had had he put it there instead. The frustration carried over through his bogey putt. While he waited for Hideki Matsuyama to finish, McIlroy pulled down his white hat over his face. Still, his 3-under round was good to tie for the lead.

Earlier in his round, with the crowd already four- and five-deep around the 18th green, McIlroy got a light Thursday roar as he drained a 16-foot birdie putt to move to 2-under and 1 stroke off the early lead. The 2011 U.S. Open champion started on the 10th tee early Thursday morning and is coming off a thrilling win at the RBC Canadian Open last week as well as two top-10 finishes in this year’s two majors.

“It’s been eight years since I won a major, and I just want to get my hands on one again,” McIlroy said after the round.

He is attempting to win a major the week after winning a PGA Tour event, after claiming the RBC Canadian Open last week. The last player to do it? McIlroy. He won the 2014 PGA Championship the week after winning the WGC-Bridgestone. No player has ever won the U.S. Open after winning on the PGA Tour the previous week. The closest to do it was Arnold Palmer, who tied for second in 1963, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

— Uggetti and Schlabach

Turkeys on the course

Backyard battles!

A near ace!

Justin Rose, the winner of the 2013 U.S. Open, had a great shot to start his round.

Where’s the after party?

After shooting 3-under, Joel Dahmen, held a share of the lead when he finished his first round. He has never finished higher than 10th in a major before, so maybe he’s nervous and might take it easy before the second round.

Doesn’t sound like it.

Ben Rector is a Nashville-based pop singer/songwriter who has released seven studio albums.

Golf can be cruel

Golf is hard — even for the best players in the world. Chances are that most players are going to catch a bad break at this week’s U.S. Open, which is considered the most difficult test in golf.

McIlroy found that out on the par-4 fifth hole at The Country Club on Thursday. After he pushed his tee shot right, his ball ended up in the thick grass above a bunker. His feet were well below the ball, so he managed to knock it only about 10 yards — into another fairway bunker. He slammed his club wildly twice into the sand.

Remarkably, McIlroy was able to get up and down out of the sand to save par. — Schlabach

This is Matt McCarty‘s birdie attempt at the fifth hole. Thought the blocked shots in the Boston area were coming later on Thursday.

Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, had this shot that netted just three yards. He did, however, save par on the hole.

LIV Golf isn’t far away

LIV Golf made sure to get the message out that although this is not its event, its guys are still here.

Early birdies

Reigning champion Jon Rahm is one of the golfers out early, along with Max Homa, former Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth, and two-time major winner Collin Morikawa.

There’s more than golf going on around here

Sure, the fans in New England are here to see golf. But forgive them if they are a bit distracted. Something else is on their minds — about 7.2 miles down the road.

The Boston Celtics are hoping to keep their NBA title hopes alive Thursday in Game 6 against the Golden State Warriors. (9 p.m. ET on ABC). The Celtics are down 3-2 in the series.

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