Lefty cards 76 in Round 1, 'wasn't the best day'


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Phil Mickelson opened the week at Augusta National with a 76, matching his highest opening-round score at the Masters and dropping himself into a tie for 67th.

The trouble for Lefty started on No. 7 when he needed five shots from 35 feet to complete the hole after blasting his first chip through the green and running his next attempt well past.

“I just hit the ball too firm and it ran through and then I did it again,” said Mickelson, who rallied with birdies at Nos. 10 and 13 but played Nos. 14 and 15 in 3 over par.

For the first time in his career, Mickelson arrived at Augusta National without a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour this year, although he did finish second in Abu Dhabi on the European Tour, and he voiced his concern earlier in the week that he may be rusty.

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“It wasn’t the best day for me today,” he said. “I had some issues . . . I actually played well, I know it’s hard to say that. I don’t feel like my game was off, I don’t feel like I have to go to the range or anything.”

Mickelson’s tie for 67th is his highest position on the leaderboard after Round 1 at the Masters and he is eight strokes behind Day 1 leader Bill Haas.