American Johnson and Swede Stenson fired matching five-under-par 65s on a firm and fast-running Chambers Bay layout while Phil Mickelson made an encouraging start with a 69.

The long-hitting Johnson piled up six birdies and a lone bogey to finish level with Stenson, who birdied four of his last five holes at the British Open-style venue in the year's second major, being played for the first time in the Pacific Northwest.

They were one stroke ahead of American Patrick Reed,  while Americans Matt Kuchar, Ben Martin and amateur Brian Campbell trailed by two. "I hit the ball really well ... had a lot of good looks at birdie all day," Johnson, who like Stenson is seeking a first major title, told reporters.

"It's firm but you could control your golf ball, for sure. Today I controlled my ball very well. The confidence is definitely there. I feel really good about where I'm at and going into tomorrow."

Stenson joined Johnson at the top after draining a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a homeward nine of four-under 31. "It was a good day," said the Swedish world number six. "I was striking it nicely, which led to a lot of birdie opportunities for me.

"I felt like I was really keeping my patience and a level head out there. I hit some beautiful putts and managed to slip a few in there. It was a good way to finish the day."

Mickelson, who is yearning to complete a career grand slam of the four majors by winning his first U.S. Open, was "very pleased" after a round that included four birdies and three bogeys. "I hit a lot of good shots today," Mickelson, a runner-up at the U.S. Open a record six times, said. "I shot under par the first day of the U.S. Open.

"The first round was the round I was going to be most nervous at, getting started. You don't want to have to fight to come back all the time. You want to get off to a solid start around par. I'm very pleased with the way the round went."

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