Phil Mickelsons wrong turn TPC Bostons forgiving hole


DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. – Phil Mickelson had a 44-foot putt for birdie on the ninth hole and a chance to make the turn at 2 under.

Four putts later, he was 2 over and walking in stunned silence to the back nine.

Mickelson hit a textbook drive 311 yards to the middle of the fairway on the par-4, 472-yard dogleg left. His second shot was in the center of the green, with a long putt back toward the pin in the front right.

Mickelson, who won the tournament in 2007, was wide of the hole but only needed to sink the 3 1/2 -footer to save par. He put that one about five feet past the hole and then, after picking up his ball and catching his breath, slid his third put past the lip.

He tapped in from 6 inches for a double-bogey 6.

EASY EAGLES: One of the most forgiving holes on the TPC Boston course on Friday was No. 4, a 298-yard par 4 that gave up seven eagles and 48 birdies to the 99 players. With a scoring average of 3.48, it was the second-easiest on the day.

But the players were awakened when they got to the next hole, a 466-yard, par 4 that was the toughest, with a scoring average of 4.182.

The easiest was No. 18, a 528-yard par 5 that gave up three eagles and 55 birdies but only four bogeys and two double bogeys.

DIVOTS: Troy Matteson, who earned the 125th and final spot in The Barclays and used a top-20 finish to reach the second round of the playoffs, opened with a 5-under 66 and was tied for eighth. If he stays where he is, he would qualify for Week 3 at the BMW Championship. … It was Mickelson’s 400th career PGA Tour start. … It’s the second time this year Furyk has been atop the leaderboard after the first round. The other time was in Tampa, where he followed a 65 with a 78. … Defending champion Vijay Singh, who also won in 2004 and finished second in ’06, shot 67.

Woods attributed so many missed chances at Liberty National on putts that often broke multiple times before reaching the hole. He worked some on his short game during his three days at home, no more than usual.

“I really putted well on the weekend, I just didn’t make a lot of putts,” he said. “When you’re lipping out a lot of putts, you’re not putting poorly. Those greens were a tough read for a bunch of people.”

Woods has a hard time finding much fault with anything this year, except for not winning a major. His five victories are twice as much as anyone else, and he still holds the No. 1 stop in the FedEx Cup standings going into the second week of the playoffs.

The big surprise is Heath Slocum, who was planning a trip to Switzerland this week for the Omega Masters on the European Tour until he won last week at Liberty National. That moved him from second-to-last place at No. 124 to No. 3, right behind Woods and Stricker.

Players have been debating whether Slocum earned too many points, and they tried to balance his rocket rise with the notion that he did beat a field at The Barclays that included the top 124 players on the PGA Tour.

The top 100 qualified for the Deutsche Bank (minus Paul Casey, who is injured), and that number will be pared to the top 70 players in points going to the third round next week at the BMW Championship outside Chicago.

Woods is virtually a lock to at least contest for the $10 million prize that comes with the FedEx Cup, especially the way he has played over the last two months—two victories, two runner-up finishes.

“This last stretch, I think I’ve hit the ball pretty good,” Woods said. “I’ve putted well in stretches. Some people have alluded to other things, but that’s not too bad for my last four events. The overall year has been very consistent.”

He missed the FedEx Cup playoffs last year recovering from knee surgery. The last time he played the Deutsche Bank was in 2007, when he tied for second, four shots behind Phil Mickelson. Woods took nine more putts than Mickelson that day.