The left-hander produced a faultless display to card a record-equalling 63 and finish the day on 8-under-par
Phil Mickelson said he wanted to cry after coming so close to the greatest round in Major history.
He produced a vintage performance on day one of the Open at Troon equalling the record for the lowest round in a Major championship.
The 2013 champion came agonisingly close to the outright record as his birdie putt on 18 lipped out and he had to make do with a 63.
“It was one of the best rounds I’ve ever played but I want to shed a tear,” he said.
“With a foot to go I thought I’d done it. It stings! Such a rare opportunity to make history.”
The 46-year-old admitted that the notoriously hard back nine, which has caused so many problems over the years, actually suits his game with the prevailing wind working in the left hander’s favour.
He said that he had to be more cautious on the way out but that didn’t stop him making four birdies before the turn.
He followed that with another four birdies on the way home before the painful end on 18. With the record in his sights Mickelson narrowly avoided a bunker before leaving himself a 15-footer for glory. The crowd willed the ball to drop but it somehow stayed out.
He became the 26th man to card a Major 63 and the first since Steve Stricker at the USPGA in 2011. The last man to do it in The Open was Rory McIlroy at St Andrews in 2010.
The 46-year-old was clearly aware that history beckoned and his disappointment was obvious as he walked off the course.
When the dust settles on the day however, the American can reflect on a wonderful round of golf which puts him three shots clear in the clubhouse from compatriot Patrick Reed and German Martin Kaymer.
At the time of writing a further seven players had finished on 4-under for the day.