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Mixed bag for Mickelson

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Scorecards don’t come with pictures, or so the cliché goes, but if they did Phil Mickelson’s Round 1 tab would best be portrayed by a smiley face with angry eyes.

At first blush, Lefty’s opening 69 was solid enough, particularly considering it was his first competitive go since the Masters. But upon further review his 3-under card was something of a mixed bag.

Mickelson posted five birdies, including the entire turn (Nos. 8-11), two bogeys and an all-world par save at the seventh after hitting his second shot into a water hazard. Oh yeah, there were also two penalty strokes (Nos. 7 and 15) and a drop from an unplayable lie (No. 4) mixed into the proceedings.

“Made par from the water at 7, couple of penalty strokes, but I putted well,” Mickelson reasoned.

Mickelson had to be encouraged by his putting and the work he’s been doing with coach Dave Stockton Sr. this week. He needed just 23 putts and ranks sixth in the field. His driver, however, is another story.

He hit just 35 percent of his fairways on Thursday and ranked 109th out of a field of 156. Still, Mickelson is tied for 11th place, just five strokes out of the lead. Not picture perfect, but good enough.

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