Lefty cautious, but solid in 2010 start
Phil Mickelson began his 2010 campaign with a cautious, but solid first round at the new Farmers Insurance Open.
Phil Mickelson began his 2010 campaign with a cautious but solid opening round at the inaugural Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.
The world number two, playing in his hometown, carded a five birdie, three bogey two-under-par 70 at Torrey Pines’ South course to sit six strokes behind first-round leader Scott Piercy.
Piercy posted a 64 on the easier, considerably shorter, par-72 North course.
Piercy negotiated the front nine of the 6874 yard North Course in 29 thanks to seven birdies before a bogey at the par-four 11th stopped his charge.
The 31-year-old finished strongly, though, with birdies at the 16th and 18th to move to eight under late in the day and take a one-shot lead over Japan’s Ryuji Imada and fellow Americans Matt Every, Chris Tidland and Ben Crane.
Fifty-year-old Tom Pernice Jr was alone in sixth place after an opening 66, with Australia’s Robert Allenby the first man from the 7569 yard South course to make an impression on the leaderboard following a five-under-par 67.
Low scores were hard to come by on the South, which hosted the 2008 US Open when Tiger Woods defeated play-off rival Rocco Mediate at the 91st hole, and Mickelson was happy with his first competitive round of the year, having engineered an impressive birdie at the par-five, 572 yard 18th by reaching the green in two shots.
“It was cautious,” Mickelson told Golf Channel when describing his round.
“I was anxious to get the year started. I didn’t want to come out and fire at a bunch of pins and make a bunch of dumb mistakes.
“I thought I played well, though, hit a number of good shots and under par on the South was a good score. I’m excited to get off to a solid start.”
Mickelson said he was looking forward to playing the North course in the second round.
He added: “I’m further along than I have been in years past and I feel I’m much more ready to come out and shoot low scores.
“Tomorrow on the North course will provide a good opportunity to go low and I feel like I’m hitting the shots that I need to to be able to do that.”
Piercy, a former student at San Diego State University, was also pleased with his opening 64 on the North course.
“I’ve shot a couple of 31s but 29 is a first,” Piercy said of his front nine.
“I hit a couple of good iron shots early to leave me with tap-ins and I chipped in on three and everything was kind of going my way.”
Sweden’s Daniel Chopra finished the day as the leading European after a three-under 69 on the North course, with England’s Luke Donald a further shot back alongside Mickelson and Ernie Els, all four having played the South.
The English duo of Justin Rose and Greg Owen and Scotland’s Martin Laird all carded one-under 71s on the North while the Swedish pair of Fredrik Jacobson and Richard S Johnson did the same on the South.
Former Open and US PGA champion John Daly had a day to forget on the Pacific coast, however, following an opening 79 on the South that featured four bogeys and a triple-bogey seven at the 14th.
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