Lefty started his day on the 10th hole with three consecutive birdies to take the early lead, but in line with his signature move the last year or so, he stumbled.
At Quail Hollow, those miscues came in the form of a double bogey at No. 18, followed by bogeys at Nos. 1 and 2. Mickelson rallied with birdies at Nos. 4 and 5 for a 1-under 71 that left him tied for 30th place.
“I hit a few poor shots,” Mickelson said. “What I’m pleased with, I am still making a number of birdies and that gives me hope because it’s much easier to eliminate mistakes then it is to make birdies.”
Mickelson has just two top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour since the beginning of 2014.