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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — It was the kind of mistake that could cost a guy the U.S. Open.

“I flinched,” Phil Mickelson said about a 12-inch putt that rimmed out on the third green Thursday.

It was hardly the worst thing that’s happened to Mickelson at the major that has escaped him, sometimes ever-so cruelly, all 27 times he’s played in it. If he’s able to claw back into contention at this one, who knows how important that wasted shot might be?

Mickelson opened at Pebble Beach with a 1-over 72 that, on many days at the U.S. Open, would be the sort of score players smile about. Just not on this day.

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