Phil Mickelson missed only three fairways during the first round. (Halleran/Getty Images)
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Phil Mickelson, a five-time runner-up at the U.S. Open, finished his first round in the 113th renewal of the national championship with 67 that gave him sole possession of the lead.
Mickelson made four birdies and a lone bogey on a marathon day that began with his private plane landing in Philadelphia shortly after 4 a.m. The big left-hander was a late arrival because he attended his daughter Amanda's eighth-grade graduation on Wednesday back home in San Diego.
"It might be abnormal, but it actually worked out really well," Mickelson said of the long-distance commute. "I got all my work done on Merion when I was here a week and a half ago. I knew exactly how I wanted to play the golf course, given the conditions, given different wind conditions, clubs I was going to be hitting, where I was going to be and the shots that I was going to have.
"So I didn't feel I needed more time at Merion, what I needed was to get my game sharp, to get my touch sharp. And having a nice practice facility and nice weather for the last couple of days allowed me to do that. So it worked out great on both ends."
Making the day even longer was a weather delay of 3 hours, 32 minutes that began at 8:36 a.m. after Mickelson had finished four holes. As a result of the delay, the first group in the afternoon wave didn't tee off until 4 p.m., which was about 10 minutes after Mickelson finished his round.
Jerry Kelly, who has two holes remaining, trails Mickelson by one stroke. Mickelson's 67 was his lowest opening round at the U.S. Open since 1999 and just his third first round in the 60s in his last 25 major championships dating to the 2007 Masters.
Five players, including a pair of amateurs in Kevin Phelan and Chen-Tsung Pan, are tied at 1 under. Also at that number are big-hitting Niclas Colsaerts, South Africa's George Coetzee and the resurgent Mike Weir.