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Mickelson sets Open pace

(Photo by Getty Images)

(Photo by Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson carded a record-equalling 63 to set the clubhouse lead on day one of the Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Mickelson became the ninth player to card a 63 at The Open and he very nearly set a new outright record but his 15-foot birdie putt lipped out at the 18th.

Speaking to the BBC after his round, Mickelson said: “It was a fun round, I was able to take advantage of one of the most beautiful days here, the sun was out and the wind died down and I was able to play one of the greatest links courses in Troon.

“Yet I still walk away wanting to shed a tear with that putt missing and lipping out. I had a chance to do something historical. With a foot to go I thought it was in, I am not sure how it missed. The heartbreak of that is overshadowing my round right now.

“That putt was right there with less than a foot, I am not sure how it did not go in.

“I am delighted with the way I have played. I have been working hard this year to get my swing on plane and today was the day when I did not have a lot of stress and was able to control the golf ball throughout the round.”

The 2013 champion leads the way at eight under par, three shots ahead of Germany’s Martin Kaymer and fellow American Patrick Reeds.

Current champion Zach Johnson is well placed to challenge on -4 but his day could have been so much better had it not been for bogeys on the final two holes.

Rory McIlroy is two under, Jordan Spieth finished level with a round of 71 and Andy Sullivan is the top Englishman after the first day with -4.

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