Lefty shrugs off 73 at Colonial: ‘I won the PGA’

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Phil Mickelson stored listening to congratulatory phrases as he made his method round Colonial, and there was an enormous roar from the gang when the PGA Championship winner made an extended putt to complete his spherical. Jordan Spieth stored making birdies in the identical group.

Spieth shot a 7-under 63 on a breezy Thursday and was tied for the first-round lead on the Charles Schwab Problem with Sergio Garcia, who had a 15-foot birdie try on the 18th gap that circled the sting of the cup however did not go in. Each former Colonial champions had bogey-free rounds.

The 50-year-old Mickelson, solely 4 days after changing into the oldest winner of a golf main, was 10 strokes again after a 73 that ended with the 22-foot birdie whereas taking part in with native favourite Spieth and defending Colonial champion Daniel Berger (68).

“Yeah, I did not play nicely,” Mickelson stated. “However I gained the PGA, so.”

Garcia matched the closing 63 he had at Colonial when he obtained the primary of his 11 PGA Tour wins 20 years in the past at age 21. He was 5 beneath on the four-hole stretch proper in the course of the spherical. He birdied holes No. 8-10 earlier than an eagle on the 620-yard eleventh, the place he blasted out of a greenside bunker on the course’s longest gap.

“It was fairly breezy. It was gusty, so it wasn’t simple to drag among the golf equipment,” Garcia stated. “There have been some powerful holes on the market, however I used to be in a position to hit actually good photographs on these holes, and a pair up-and-downs once I wanted them.”

Proper after Mickelson’s last putt on the 387-yard ninth, Spieth had a tap-in for his third birdie in a row, and seventh total — and proper after a 71-foot chip-in from the tough on the par-3 eighth. The 2016 winner and two-time runner-up had his finest rating in 33 profession rounds at Colonial, one in every of two native occasions for the Dallas native, after rolling in a 12-foot birdie putt to start out the day.

“It is exhausting to go any decrease,” Spieth stated. “That is what I talked about earlier than the match. If I might get a pair to go in early within the first spherical, and the boldness, and the work I have been doing on my stroke the previous few days … I believed that may exude just a bit little bit of confidence into the remainder of the spherical on greens the place I have been very profitable on earlier than.”

Erik Compton, the two-time coronary heart transplant recipient who obtained into the sector on a sponsor exemption, and Jason Kokrak had 65s. The 41-year-old Compton performed bogey-free after birdies on the primary two holes of his second PGA Tour begin this 12 months. He missed the reduce on the Honda Basic.

Mickelson, the 2000 and 2008 Colonial champ, missed 9 of 14 fairways — some with irons off the tee — in a scrambling early-starting spherical that adopted an emotionally draining few days.

After profitable Sunday at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, Mickelson flew residence that night time to California, then allowed himself a few days to relish his historic accomplishment. Lefty stated he by no means thought-about skipping Hogan’s Alley, a tree-lined course he considers completely suited to his recreation as a result of he does not need to preserve hitting drivers.

However the tough is thick after a variety of rain not too long ago, and there’s a good probability of extra Friday.

Mickelson, taking part in his final match earlier than the hometown U.S. Open at Torrey Pines subsequent month, went into the tough on his first swing of the day. Whereas saving par on the 407-yard tenth, he rapidly had the primary of his 5 bogeys at No. 11, the place he hit two photographs into the tough and one other right into a greenside bunker. He lastly made a birdie on the par-3 sixteenth from within 5 toes, then instantly gave that stroke again at No. 17 with the primary two photographs into the tough earlier than a 44-foot shot right into a bunker.

“It was nearly like I used to be making an attempt slightly too exhausting, and I wasn’t simply calm and let it occur, and I used to be slightly bit antsy,” Mickelson stated, then including the time period unsettled. “Like I simply could not fairly get calmed down in that very same state of mind.”

Mickelson stated the course was very playable, even with the 15-20 mph winds, due to receptive greens. However he could not preserve the ball within the fairway.

“You’ll be able to’t play this course out of the tough as a result of then you could have tree bother, which I had repeatedly, and I did not putt nicely,” he stated. “However I gained the PGA, so I am going to see if I can get it circled for tomorrow and get slightly higher focus, slightly higher power.”

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