Lefty’s 66 puts him in contention

Phil Mickelson shruuged off a poor start in his latest bid to depose Tiger Woods when he shot a four-under-par 66 at Firestone today

Phil Mickelson shrugged away a poor start in his latest bid to depose Tiger Woods as World No 1 by shooting a four-under-par 66 in Thursday’s opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational.
Mickelson and Lee Westwood both have the chance to end Woods’ 270-week reign at the top of the rankings at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, this weekend.
Starting on the back nine, world number two Mickelson bogeyed the final two of his opening six holes, but he immediately bounced back with a birdie before producing five more after the turn.
That was enough for a share of second place, two shots behind clubhouse leader Bubba Watson in the World Golf Championship event.
Watson, who earned his maiden PGA tour win at the Travelers Championship just over a month ago, exploded into life on the back nine, carding four successive birdies before dropping his only shot of the round at the 15th.
Kenny Perry shot a bogey-free 66 to join Mickelson on four under, with Chad Campbell and Sean O’Hair a stroke behind as the United States locked out the top of the leaderboard.
Rory McIlroy and Frenchman Gregory Bourdy led the European charge on two under, with Sweden’s Peter Hanson also two under after four holes.
In-form Steve Stricker was unable to maintain the excellent start that saw him birdie three of his first six holes as he carded a 68.
The world number four last month set a PGA tour record for 54 holes on his way to winning the John Deere Classic.
Ernie Els shot a 69, while Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari fell back to level par after getting off to a good start, with Ross Fisher also shooting 70.
Woods and world number three Westwood teed off just before 7pm UK time.
Woods has yet to win a tournament since returning from his self-imposed exile from golf following revelations about his private life.
But he has proven virtually unbeatable at Firestone, winning seven of the last 10 Bridgestone Invitationals he has played, including last year’s event.