Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mickelson opens one shot out of lead at Doral

Phil Mickelson gets a bit contorted after a putt on Doral’s par-3 ninth hole, which he pars in his round of 5-under 67.

Getty Images

Phil Mickelson gets a bit contorted after a putt on Doral’s par-3 ninth hole, which he pars in his round of 5-under 67.

DORAL — Phil Mickelson's scores from Doral over the past two years suggested that the redesigned Blue Monster wasn't completely to his liking.

He had to relearn a course that he had played for more than 20 years, and "Lefty" indicated Thursday that he finally has the new Doral figured out.

Mickelson shot 5-under 67 in the opening round of the Cadillac Championship, the first World Golf Championships event of the year. Seeking his first win since the British Open in 2013, Mickelson made seven birdies and finished one shot back of leaders Scott Piercy and Marcus Fraser.

"There is a bit of a learning curve on some of the contours and where you have to go and where you want to go and the best place to be," Mickelson said. "It's not like I came in here weeks before and mapped it out like (at) a major. … But this is our third year here now, and it continues to get better each year."

Fraser had seven birdies before his lone bogey of the day, and Piercy also got to 7 under at one point before settling for his 66.

Mickelson made bogey twice, immediately erasing each with a birdie on the next hole, and the 67 was nearly six full shots better than his average round score at Doral in his previous two visits. His best round on the Blue Monster in 2014 was 69; his low score last year was 71.

"It was a good day," said Mickelson, who has shot in the 60s in the first round of each of his six starts this year. "I hit a lot of good shots, made some good putts and just drove it well, enjoyed the day."

Danny Willett, Adam Scott, Jason Dufner and Charley Hoffman were two shots back of the leaders. World No. 1 Jordan Spieth was with Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker another shot back. He said that even on a relatively calm day by Doral weather standards, it felt like a grind.

"It always is here," Spieth said. "And this would be a day that should play about as easy as it possibly can with just a 5- to 10-mile-an-hour breeze. … Still, the scores aren't extremely low."

Spieth played in a group with world No. 2 Jason Day and No. 3 Rory McIlroy. McIlroy shot 1 under; Day finished at par 72.

Day attributed his score to "human error."

"I wish I could hit it in the center of the golf club all the time, but sometimes I'm like an amateur and I hit it in the parts where we're not supposed to," he said.

McIlroy created a splash last year when he tossed his 3-iron into the water after one less-than-stellar approach shot. He didn't throw any clubs Thursday but thought about it.

McIlroy feigned the motion after a three-putt at the par-3 ninth in his first competitive round in some time in which he tried the left-hand-low putting style that has worked for him in practice. McIlroy left some putts short but said that was more due to him being unsuccessful at gauging speed.

"Need to adjust for that (today), but overall, felt like it was good," McIlroy said.

LPGA: Minjee Lee and Candie Kung shared the lead at the HSBC Champions with 5-under 67s in Singapore. Defending champion Inbee Park was in a group of four at 68. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome was 2 over.

Mickelson opens one shot out of lead at Doral 03/03/16 [Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2016 9:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener

    College

    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.