Saturday, May 19, 2018

Mickelson shoots 67 in U.S. Open tuneup

MEMPHIS — Phil Mickelson came to the St. Jude Classic wanting to tune up for next week's U.S. Open by finishing strong.

He did just that Thursday.

Mickelson shot 3-under 67, with three birdies on his final four holes in windy conditions before a thunderstorm softened up TPC Southwind.

It was his first round in the 60s since the third round at the Wells Fargo Championship in early May. He hadn't shot below 70 since. He missed the cut at the Players Championship and tied for 49th last week in the Memorial after a visit from FBI agents and lingering questions about an insider-trading investigation.

"I did exactly what I need to do and some momentum that I need heading into the U.S. Open," Mickelson said. "(Today's) round, the same thing. Finish strong and play a good round."

Ben Crane shot 7-under 63 giving him the lead in the suspended first round, taking advantage of the 3½ hour delay that left nearly perfect scoring conditions with no wind and rain-softened greens. He had five of his seven birdies on his final nine, the last a few minutes before play was suspended because of darkness. Crane needed only 24 putts for his best round of the season.

"We caught a huge break being on this side of the wave," Crane said. "You know this is ideal Memphis weather. It's as good as it gets. It was calm, barely any wind. The greens softened up. We were able to attack some of the pins."

Sixty players were unable to finish the first round. Among players completing their round, Peter Malnati shot 65 and Retief Goosen had 66. Stuart Appleby had a hole-in-one on the 157-yard eighth hole, using a 7-iron. That was his 17th hole, and the last one he completed.

Robert Garrigus withdrew after hurting his wrist in the 18th fairway.

LPGA: Michelle Wie and Hee Young Park shared the first-round lead at 6-under 65 in the Manulife Financial Classic at Waterloo, Ontario.