Mickelson salvages rocky 73 with hot putter
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Phil Mickelson got his money’s worth in the first round of the PGA Championship. Playing in the afternoon wave with the wind freshening, the left-hander saw seemingly all 7,676 yards of the Ocean Course, and maybe just a little more, as he clawed his way to a 1-over 73 on Thursday.
It was a round that could have gone so many ways, but when Mickelson started with a bogey on the first hole and a birdie on the second, the up-and-down nature of Mickelson’s game in 2012 was on full display.
“I was just a fraction off here or there,” Mickelson said of his first over-par round in a PGA Championship since last year's opener at Atlanta Athletic Club. “I fought hard today and kept myself right in it, for the most part, and should get a bit of a weather break tomorrow morning.”
Mickelson hit only five fairways and seven greens in regulation, but he kept the round together with his putter. Mickelson needed only 25 putts, including 11 one-putts on greens that many players this week have hailed as perfect, though the paspalum surfaces are uncommon on Tour.
“It could have been quite a bit higher,” Mickelson said of his 73. “It could have been quite a bit lower, though, too. “
Mickelson, seven shots back of first-round leader Carl Pettersson of Sweden and hovering on the cut line of 1 over, plans to make some adjustments Friday.
“I’m going to actually start going after it tomorrow,” Mickelson said. "I’m going to start trying to give it a little bit extra off the tee and see if I can get it down there and take advantage.”