NORTON, Mass. – Amid fair weather and ideal scoring conditions, 100 of the game’s best players were – for the most part – able to take advantage of a receptive layout Friday at TPC Boston. Here’s how things shape up after the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, where Phil Mickelson and Brian Davis share the overnight lead:
What it means: Playing alongside world No. 1 Tiger Woods, Mickelson set the early pace with a blistering outward nine. Davis was able to catch him with a pair of closing birdies late in the afternoon, but overall it proved to be a day for low scores on a course where red figures are the norm. Of the 100 players in the field, 22 began with rounds of 66 or better Friday at TPC Boston.
Round of the day: In the day’s marquee group with Woods and Barclays champion Adam Scott, Mickelson took only 10 putts on his first nine holes, making the turn in 7-under 28. Despite bogeys at Nos. 1 and 9, the reigning Open champ quickly placed his name at the top of the leaderboard, ultimately carding an 8-under 63. Beginning on the 14th hole, his fifth of the day, Mickelson played the next seven holes in 7 under, a stretch that culminated with an eagle on the par-5 second hole.
Best of the rest: Among one of the last groups of the day Friday, Davis was able to navigate TPC Boston without dropping a single shot. The Englishman, who enters this week 80th in FedEx Cup points and needs a strong result in order to make the field at next week’s BMW Championship, notched three birdies in a row on holes 16-18 and finished his round with back-to-back red figures on Nos. 8 and 9 to grab a share of the overnight lead.
Biggest disappointment: While Mickelson challenged the course record Friday, Scott had no such luck while playing in the same group. The reigning Masters champ struggled on a day where two-thirds of the field broke par, converting only a single birdie attempt despite reaching 13 of 18 greens in regulation. As a result, the Aussie faces an uphill climb merely to make the 36-hole cut after opening with a 2-over 73 that placed him 10 shots off the lead.
Main storyline heading into Saturday: Though he shares the lead with Davis, all eyes will be on Mickelson as he again plays alongside Woods and Scott, the only two names above him in the current world ranking. A winner here in 2007, Mickelson clearly feels comfortable along the fairways at TPC Boston and will need to remain aggressive in order to remain in front of a world-class field that likely will continue to make birdies by the bunches this weekend.
Shot of the day: After splitting the fairway at the par-5 second, Mickelson had just 213 yards left to the hole over a large hazard. His iron approach never left the flag, landing just short of the pin and rolling to within 2 feet of the hole, setting up an easy eagle to further propel his opening round.
Quote of the day: “After shooting 7 under the first nine, it was going to be a good round as long as I didn’t mess it up.” – Mickelson