Mickelson makes cross-country trip to take early US Open lead

FOUR-TIME Major winner Phil Mickelson was the early leader on a rain-disrupted day at the US Open, completing his first round just hours after jetting into Philadelphia.

The 37-year-old attended his daughter Amanda’s eighth-grade graduation in California, before embarking on a five-hour flight to arrive at Merion Golf Club 90 minutes before his 7:11am tee time.

Yet Mickelson shot a three-under-par 67, despite having his round disrupted by a weather-induced delay of almost four hours, and was content with his day’s work.

“I loved having an early tee time,” said the five-time US Open runner-up. “I wish we did not have the delay because it made it a long day.

“The golf course is playing about as easy as it could, but Merion is fighting hard. It’s one of the best I’ve seen for a US Open. It’s soft but we are having a hard time getting under par.”

Of the other players to complete their first rounds Charl Schwartzel, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler finished level par.

England’s Ian Poulter finished four shots behind Mickelson at one-over, while Justin Rose, by contrast, rescued his round from four-over through 13 to card a respectable 71.