Shaun Micheel, Paul Casey Tied Atop U.S. Open as Woods, Mickelson Struggle

Shaun Micheel, Paul Casey and Brendon de Jonge are tied for the lead at golf’s U.S. Open, where Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson failed to make birdie or better during the opening round.

Micheel, Casey and de Jonge opened the season’s second major championship with rounds of 2-under-par 69 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

Woods, the No. 1 golfer in the Official World Ranking, shot a 3-over 74 as he failed to make a birdie in a round at a major for the third time in his career and the first since the 2003 Masters Tournament. Mickelson, who’s ranked second in the world, opened with a 75 that included three straight bogeys.

“I usually find a way to make some birdies, but this was tough,” said Mickelson, who has had five runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open. “There were a number of birdie holes out there and I had my opportunities, I just didn’t make the putt.”

Mike Weir and K.J. Choi shot 1-under 70s and are in a group one stroke behind the leaders. Ian Poulter, Alex Cejka, Ryo Ishikawa and Rafael Cabrera-Bello also shot 70s.

“The holes are playing a lot more difficult than they look when you’re standing on the tee,” Choi said through an interpreter during his post-round news conference. “You need a lot of patience and calm out there.”

Tied for Lead

The 41-year-old Micheel, whose lone U.S. PGA Tour win came in the 2003 PGA Championship, had five birdies and three bogeys during his opening round.

Micheel, who tied for fourth place at last week’s St. Jude Classic in Memphis, said he’s motivated to play well for his mother, Donna, who was diagnosed with cancer last year and is unable to attend the season’s second major championship.

“It’s tough. I’m trying to play for her,” Micheel said in a televised interview while fighting back tears. “It’s nice to be able to play for somebody else. It’s usually just about me. I love my mom. What do you say? She’s hanging in there.”

Micheel, of the U.S., and Britain’s Casey birdied the par-5 18th hole to tie for the lead. Casey, 32, is ranked ninth in the world, yet has only one win in the U.S.

De Jonge, of Zimbabwe, is playing in his first U.S. Open and had four birdies, four bogeys and the lone eagle of the day at the par-5 14th hole.

Woods’s Round

Woods started his round with eight straight pars before making his first bogey at the par-4 ninth, where he was heckled by a fan who yelled, “It is our business, Tiger. You made it our business,” after Woods’s tee shot.

When asked by a reporter about the status of his marriage earlier this week, Woods said it was “none of your business.”

Woods, 34, hasn’t won a tournament since a November car accident led to his admission of marital infidelity. He won the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by 15 strokes and last claimed a major title at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

Woods closed today’s round with bogeys at the 16th and 18th holes. He flipped his wedge to the ground on No. 18 after his chip from off the green led to a dropped shot.

“It’s the U.S. Open. It’s going to be difficult,” said Woods, who failed to make a birdie or better for the first time in a major in round three of the 1999 British Open. “You just have to be patient. I felt like I was hitting good shots, it was just tough out there.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in Pebble Beach, California, at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

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