(Reuters) - Lee Soo-min knows he saw the benevolent face of the Scottish weather on Thursday and the South Korean is glad to have opened with an impressive three-under-par 68 at the British Open before the wind makes life difficult at Royal Troon.

The 22-year-old, who is making his major debut, made four birdies in his first eight holes but a solitary bogey on the 16th saw him finish the day tied for 12th, five shots behind leader Phil Mickelson.

Lee, who won the Shenzen International tournament in China in April, got his first taste of a links course at Stuart Castle last week, and the South Korean said he would treat the Open as a major learning curve for his career.

"It's only my second time playing on a links course, so I need to learn playing on this type of course more often," he said on the Asian Tour website. "It is the biggest crowds that I've play in front of too.

"I just tried to keep the ball on the fairway, keep my focus," he said, adding that with the wind expected to pick up for the second round it had been crucial to put in a good score on Thursday.

Ranked fifth in the Asian Order of Merit, Lee said it was important to keep his focus on Friday when conditions are expected to be tougher.

"Over here, one day can have four seasons," he said.

(Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford; peter.rutherford@thomsonreuters.com; +822 3704 5698 Reuters; Messaging: peter.rutherford.reuters.com@reuters.net)