Mickelson starts hot, fades during opening 68

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In his final tuneup before the U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson frittered away a strong start with two bogeys coming home to post a 2-under 70 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He is four shots off the early lead.

Lefty struggled with his ball-striking on Day 1 at TPC Southwind. He hit only five fairways and just 10 greens. 

That didn’t stop him from recording four birdies in his first seven holes to grab a share of the lead, but he dropped shots on both par 3s on the front nine (his inward half) to drop to 2 under. 

Mickelson is coming off a sluggish performance at the Memorial that seemed to go under the radar. The same day that Tiger Woods carded a career-worst 85, Mickelson shot 78 and tumbled down the leaderboard. He eventually finished in a tie for 65th

When asked how he would assess his game, Mickelson said Wednesday, “It’s hard to say,” but added that he identified a few areas to address.

Mickelson has added the Memphis Tour stop each of the past three years to try and build some momentum heading into the Open. He finished runner-up (2013) and T-11 (’14).