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Jim Furyk feels like Carnoustie is a course that favors his style of play. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Jim Furyk feels like Carnoustie is a course that favors his style of play. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Furyk and Mickelson lament the shots that got away

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Jim Furyk (70) and Phil Mickelson (71) started their Open Championships with good rounds that could have been better. Mickelson struggled on the greens while Furyk got off to a bit of a slow start, and both bogeyed the closing hole.

By Melanie Hauser, Correspondent

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- They coulda. Maybe they shoulda.

But they didn't.

We're talking scoring. Getting the ball in the hole. Taking advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves Thursday afternoon.

It wasn't that bad. Former U.S. Open champ Jim Furyk shot a 1-under 70 and former Masters and PGA champion Phil Mickelson opened with an even-par 71 -- both after bogeying the final hole, which by no means puts them out of this 136th Open Championship. It merely leaves them with a little work to do.

And a little less than Vijay Singh, who dropped three shots in the final two holes, to shoot 72.

The Nos. 2 (Mickelson), 3 (Furyk) and sixth (Singh) players in the world, just didn't open this Open Championship the way they wanted.

"It was a day when we could have gone low," Mickelson said. "A lot of guys did. I hit some great shots, but I didn't convert on the greens. I didn't shoot myself in the foot."

Yet on one of his best ball-striking rounds of the year, Mickelson found himself searching on the greens. It was more technical than anything else, he said. "I never felt comfortable. It wasn't like I was just lipping out or running them by. I was off line and had poor speed."

But nothing, he said, that a little session on the practice green couldn't fix.

As for Furyk? He didn't feel he didn't take advantage, either. Especially on the first six holes. But after that, things kind of kicked in.

Until 18. "I hung a 3-wood out there," he said. He recovered, but didn't get it up and down.

"I'm always a little peeved walking off the 18th when I've done that," he said. "Five's not a bad score there some days because of the wind. But I put the ball in position to where I thought I should have made 4."

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Furyk thinks if he can stop plodding along Friday, he has a chance to move up the leader board. "I do feel there are courses that favor me over here," he said. "And this is one of them."

If you believe in the weather forecast -- something that not many do around here -- conditions are expected to be better Friday morning than Friday afternoon, which would mean Furyk and Mickelson got the better end of the draw for the first 36 holes.

Furyk laughed. "I checked the weather and they said today would be the warmest day of the week. Then I checked the weather and it said today would be the coldest day. You can't tell over here."

Mickelson agreed. When he left the course, he had his left hand and wrist in one of those large warming gloves for protection. He said everything was fine with his wrist -- he just needed to work on the greens. After all, he said, he putted well last week at the Barclays Scottish Open, where he lost a playoff to Gregory Havret.

"I just had an uncomfortable day on the greens," he said.

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