England's Poulter takes share of early US Open lead (Roundup)
By Ben James Jun 18, 2010, 5:24 GMT
Pebble Beach, California - US player Shaun Micheel, Briton Paul Casey and Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge sat atop the US Open leaderboard at 2-under-par 69 following Thursday's first round at Pebble Beach, California.
Tournament favourite Phil Mickelson had a rare bad day with the putter and was five shots back on 4-over-par, while former Open and US PGA champion Padraig Harrington finished two shots better off after a 72.
World number one Tiger Woods was 1-over-par through 13 holes of his opening round, the same as two-time US Open winner Ernie Els.
Briton Ian Poulter fired a 1-under-par 70, putting him one shot off the lead alongside KJ Choi of South Korea and Canadian Mike Weir. They were the early leaders in the clubhouse before the three players shooting 69 finished later.
German Alex Cejka, Japan's Ryo Ishikawa and Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello later joined the pack at 70, one shot off the lead.
'I just played really solid,' Poulter said. 'I didn't miss many greens and drove it well. I gave myself plenty of looks from the right side of the pins. You need to do that around this golf course.
'It's all about distance control with your irons. You can drive it well and have a few looks at birdie, and you can put together a good score. One-under is a good score today.'
Mickelson, beginning his round at the 10th hole on the picturesque coastal layout, slipped up on the 16th, 17th and 18th to turn in 3- over-par. The Masters champion then bogeyed the fourth hole to finish without a single birdie, sitting five shots off the pace.
'It was terrible on the greens, one of my worst putting days,' Mickelson said.
'I misread a lot and hit a bunch of poor putts and didn't make birdies because of it. It's disappointing. It was a very fair set-up, conditions were good, and it was under-par scoring today.'
Another Briton, Luke Donald, was on level par after a solid 71, while two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen was alongside Mickelson on 4-over-par.
Donald has been one of the most consistent performers on the US Tour this year and said he was content with his start.
'It was a solid score. I think level par in a US Open is always a good start,' Donald said.
'I didn't feel like I played my best. I actually thought there were some opportunities for birdies. But I played solid and made a couple of birdies. I kept it in play very well. It wasn't flashy; it was just a solid round.'