Phil Mickelson always believed he would have at least a couple of more chances to finally win a U.S. Open.

For so much of his opening round Thursday, it looked like this could be another one.

Mickelson was making birdies and moving up the leaderboard until his momentum stalled.

He took a conservative approach on the reachable par-4 12th hole and made par, followed with consecutive bogeys and wound up with a 69.

Lefty still had few complaints, except for the inconsistent speed of the greens.

He was four shots off the lead. Mickelson says the opening round is what makes him the most nervous. The last thing he wanted was a bad start that would force him to catch up the rest of the week.