Mickelson gives us what we expected in his first round back: a little bit of everything
Using this week more as a tune-up for the PGA Championship than anything else, most people figured Phil Mickelson would have has fair share of ups and downs in his first nine holes of competitive golf since he left the tour six weeks ago to tend to his ailing wife and mother. They were right.
Mickelson’s front nine included a double-bogey on his second hole of the day, followed by a birdie on the next hole and two bogeys on the 5th and 9th holes. All in all, it led to a 3-over 38 on the front side (he started his round on the back nine). But it did get better from there, as Mickelson appeared to find his game on the back nine, tallying three birdies without a single bogey to finish the day off just like he started – at even-par.
Overall, I think Mickelson will be pleased with his opening round. Playing and practicing back home is a far cry from the nerves and crowds you experience on a weekly basis when you tee it up on the PGA Tour. It’s a scene that just can’t be replicated anywhere else. Regardless, I think it’s the perfect start for Mickelson’s return to the game.
He was able to come out of an early tailspin on the front nine and right the ship on the back side. I’d imagine that’ll be all he needs to make his move on Friday. While I’m not expecting him to win his first week back on tour; I wouldn’t be shocked to see him finish in the top 10 and be within two or three shots of the lead on Sunday afternoon. Don’t forget we’re talking about the second best player in the world! I’m sure it doesn’t take him long to get his golf legs under him.
If there’s one thing he should work on today after his round, it’s his tee ball. Mickelson hit only 36-percent of his fairways in the first round. Given the length of Firestone, I wouldn’t recommend hitting it in the rough very often over the next three days.