Phil Mickelson appears to have shaken off any negative mojo from missing the cut at the Masters last month for the second time in his professional career.
Mickelson fired a 5-under round of 67 during Thursday’s first round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte and trails Angel Cabrera by one shot heading into the second round.
“It was important for me to focus to try and get off to a good start because I haven’t had many this year and it’s felt like I’ve always been coming from behind,” Mickelson said in his post-round press conference.
Quail Hollow has been kind to Mickelson over the years despite the fact that he has never won there. He has recorded seven top-10 finishes in his 10 appearances at the event and is the tournament’s all-time leading money winner.
Last year, he held the lead during the final round before faltering down the stretch and finishing in third place, one shot out of the playoff with David Lynn and eventual champion Derek Ernst.
Mickelson hit just 5 of 14 fairways–only one on the back 9– and 13 of 18 greens in regulation, but made up for it with his putter by needing only 26 putts.
He recorded seven birdies against two bogeys and one-putted 11 greens in his round, including a stretch of six straight.
“It was a great day for me on the greens,” Mickelson said. “There were some areas I saw where I need to improve on, my chipping was not very good. But it was covered up by a couple of good par putts from longer distances than they should have been.”
He made a nine-footer to save par at 18 and 24-footer for par at 11 to keep his round going, even tying Cabrera twice at 6-under on the back nine before bogeying the 13th and 17th.
Mickelson will head out 8 a.m. on Friday for the second round with Lee Westwood and Justin Rose.