Home > Sport > Golf
Friday April 11, 2014 MYT 8:37:11 AM
Friday April 11, 2014 MYT 8:37:55 AM
by larry fine
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson blamed a bad "mental" day and a lack of tournament sharpness for a four-over-par 76 on Thursday that matched his worst opening round at the Masters.
Three-times winner Mickelson, playing in his 22nd Masters, posted a stunning pair of sevens on the day and finished eight strokes behind first-round leader Bill Haas, who topped a crowded leaderboard after a sunny day at Augusta National.
"It was just perfect all day and there was possibilities for low scores and I actually played well," said a disappointed Mickelson, 43. "I know it's hard to say that, but I actually played well and I just made a lot of little mental errors.
"I made a lot of little mistakes around the green, but I didn't hit anything unsolid. I hit them solid, I just misjudged the shot."
Mickelson started with six pars before taking a triple bogey seven at the par-four seventh, where he criss-crossed through the green after sending a flop shot firmly to the other side of the green and chipped back too strong the other way as his vaunted short-game touch deserted him.
"I just hit them too firm, both of them on seven," lamented the American, ranked fifth in the world.
Birdies at the 10th, where he sank a curling 50-foot birdie, and 13th holes, moved the big lefthander back to one over par and in position to salvage a decent round.
However, after a bogey at 14 Mickelson took his second seven at the par-five 15th, where he spun his short approach back off the front bank and into the pond on the way to a double-bogey.
"At 15, I eased into it. I hit it solid, (but) I hit it terribly easy. It was just mental mistakes like that, that I wasn't sharp," he said. "I made a lot of mistakes like that around the greens and just threw away a ton of shots."
Mickelson said he may be suffering from a lack of tournament sharpness after withdrawing from last month's Texas Open with a pulled abdominal muscle.
"I hit all those chips solid and flush, but I misjudged them. I was just off. I was really off today," said Mickelson, who claimed his fifth major title with last year's rousing victory at the British Open. "It was very disappointing.
"It wasn't the best day for me today. I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow just to make the cut."
(Editing by Steve Keating in Toronto)
Golf-Makeshift caddie change no problem for Day at East Lake
No mental hangover from Boston for BMW leader Horschel
Another bad day in Japan for Malaysian golfers
Golf: Jacklin thrilled rookie Gallacher proved him wrong
Mixed start for Gavin and Co. at World Amateur Teams
Snedeker, Dufner will be in town for CIMB Classic golf
Joost magic! Luiten makes it 27 birdies in a week
Cink, Laird tied for first round lead in Las Vegas
Champion McDowell turns on style at World Match Play
Well-rested Moore ready to defend CIMB Classic title
London Club proves a damp squib for beaten Reed
Mexico feds to replace 13 local police forces suspected of crime ties
Barca need to avoid Clasico obsession, focus on Ajax
Whisper app trades barbs on anonymity with Guardian
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)