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Mike Weir chipped in from the tangled rough near the 16th green to get to 3 under, only to push his tee shot on 17 to the left en route to a bogey-bogey finish.
John Rollins led briefly at 2 under but hit a complete shank out of the rough on 17, one of the 13 strokes he hit over the last two holes that left him at 74.
Others who got to 3 under included K.J. Choi, Soren Kjeldsen and de Jonge. None could stay there and the 69 turned out to be the highest score to lead the opening round since 2006.
Choi was one of six who finished one stroke behind at 70.
"I'm not thinking about what kind of score might win this golf tournament," said Ian Poulter, part of the group at 70. "I'm just happy to go out there and play as good as I possibly can. But I will tell you the golf course is difficult. There's not going to be many good scores on it today. And I can't see it getting easier."
The wildest day belonged to Mickelson, who teed off early and finished with a 4-over 75.
He ran into trouble almost everywhere he went. His tee shot on No. 17 bounced through the rough and onto the beach. He made bogey there, then another when, snookered behind the trees on the 18th fairway, he went for it, sending the shot careening off the top of the beachside rock wall and into the ocean. He left a ball in a bunker on No. 4 and missed a four-foot birdie putt on No. 6. All part of a frustrating day. But nothing that can't be overcome.
"There's no way under par is going to win here, I don't believe," Mickelson said. "I think over par will win. Because of that, I'm right there. But I need to play well. I need to putt well, score well. I've just got to get sharp on the greens."
As does Tom Watson.
Hoping to recreate the magic either from his win here in 1982, or his close call at the British Open last year, the 60-year-old looked his age. Playing at Pebble on a special exemption, he shot 7-over 78. He knows could be playing his final round at the U.S. Open on Friday if he doesn't pick things up.
"Pebble had its teeth out today," Watson said.
He wasn't the only one to feel the bite.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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