Kevin Na, Graeme McDowell share early U.S. Open lead

Graeme McDowell watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open in...

Graeme McDowell watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open in Pinehurst, N.C., on Thursday, June 12, 2014. (Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

JON MCCARTHY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:40 PM ET

PINEHURST, N.C. - American Kevin Na and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell share the clubhouse lead halfway through the opening day the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.

The early morning pairings had a distinct advantage on Thursday after some overnight water was added to the course temporarily, taking some of the bite out of the notoriously difficult course.

Brandt Snedeker flew out of the gate with four birdies in his first nine holes before beginning his back nine bogey, double-bogey, bogey. Snedeker rallied and finished the day in a large group of players at one-under par. Also in the clubhouse at one-under are veterans Matt Kuchar and Henrik Stenson, as well as youngsters Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama.

Fan favourite Phil Mickelson had a good day, shooting even par as he hopes to end his U.S. Open curse. A win at Pinehurst No. 2 would give Mickelson the career grand slam and take much of the sting out of his six runner-up finishes at this tournament.

"This is a special week, this is a special tournament, a tournament that means a lot to me," Mickelson said following his round Thursday. "I don't know if it will be this week or next year or the year after. I do still have a 100% confidence that I'll be able to break through and get one."

Mickelson received some good news off the golf course as media reports came out saying that the 5-time major champion has been cleared of any wrongdoing in an insider trading investigation in which his name had been brought up.

In early afternoon action, American Brooks Koepka opened with a bogey before making two birdies and an eagle over his next four holes to jump to the top of the leaderboard at three-under par through five holes.

Canadian Graham DeLaet started his round on the 10th hole and bogeyed two of his first three holes. DeLaet was 2-over par through three holes early in his opening round.


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