Friday, February 23, 2018
Golf

Phil Mickelson makes cut at PGA's Texas Open

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Phil Mickelson made the cut on the number in the Texas Open on Friday, blasting out of a greenside water hazard to 5 feet to set up a birdie on the final hole.

Mickelson shot 2-under 70 after opening with 77 — his worst score of the season — on TPC San Antonio's AT&T Oaks Course. "Lefty" was 11 strokes behind leader Steven Bowditch, the Australian who had 67 to reach 8-under 136.

Mickelson was in the stream that runs in front of the 18th green after attempting to reach the par 5 in two from 288 yards with a 3-wood.

"I needed to make a birdie to have a chance at playing (today)," Mickelson said. "Fortunately, barely went in, and it looked like the water overlapped the grass. It was not that hard of a shot."

Bowditch holed out from 83 yards for eagle on the par-4 12th. The 30-year-old topped the leaderboard at the end of a round for the first time in his PGA Tour career.

"My wedge shots have been pretty good," Bowditch said. "I was trying to hit (the one on No. 12) a little past the pin and hope it came back to a reasonable distance. Got lucky."

He closed the round with double bogey on the par-4 ninth, taking two chips to get out of the heavy rough.

Chad Collins and rookie Andrew Loupe were a stroke back.

Mickelson has struggled this year and entered the Texas Open for the first time in 22 years to put his game under competitive conditions as a preparation for the Masters. He knew he had a chance to make the cut even after bogey on No. 15 dropped him to 3 over.

"I was on the green for five minutes and (the 3-over score) went from 74th to 71st in five minutes," Mickelson said. "So I figured that 3 over had a pretty good chance of making it."

On the 18th, Mickelson pulled off his left shoe, rolled up that pants leg and gave it a shot with his foot in the water.

"It's important that I get more mentally into the round like I did (Friday)," Mickelson said. "(Thursday), I was very sloppy. I like the way I'm driving the ball. My speed is back. My body feels great, and I'm able to hit the ball hard again."

Two of the top 15 players on the leaderboard are in the top 100 of the world ranking. Sixth-place Kevin Na is 78th in the world, and ninth-place Zach Johnson is 10th.

LPGA: Dori Carter, birdied six of the first seven holes on the back nine, then bogeyed the final two holes for 8-under 64 in the Kia Classic, breaking the Aviara course record. Winless on the LPGA Tour, the former University of Mississippi player had 11 birdies and three bogeys. At 10-under 134, she had a two-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis and Cristie Kerr. Lewis shot 66; Kerr had 68.

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