Matteson leads, Lefty causes stir

Thanks to his belly putter and pinstripes, Phil Mickelson draws plenty of attention at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Mass. “Lost a wager with a friend and had to wear these (Friday),” Mickelson says of the pants, which he donned a day after appearing at Fenway Park with the Red Sox.

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Thanks to his belly putter and pinstripes, Phil Mickelson draws plenty of attention at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Mass. “Lost a wager with a friend and had to wear these (Friday),” Mickelson says of the pants, which he donned a day after appearing at Fenway Park with the Red Sox.

NORTON, Mass. — Phil Mickel­son caused a minor commotion with his pants and his putter.

The Deutsche Bank Championship began Friday with two players on opposite ends of the world ranking — Luke Donald at No. 1, Troy Matteson at No. 207 — having their lowest opening round of the year on the PGA Tour.

Matteson, facing elimination from the FedEx Cup playoffs, overcame bogey on his first hole, No. 10, for 6-under 65 and the lead. Donald shot 66 and was one of four a shot behind.

Through it all, Mickelson drew attention for the two items that looked out of place.

The day after he took batting practice at Fenway Park and wore a Red Sox jersey while throwing out the first pitch before the Yankees' 4-2 win, Mickelson wore pinstripes at TPC Boston.

"Lost a wager with a friend and had to wear these (Friday)," he said. "What can you say? I've got to suck it up and bear it."

Stranger still was the sight of Mickelson sticking the grip of a long putter into his belly.

"I thought it went well," said Mickelson (70), who opened with back-to-back birdie putts of just inside 10 feet. "I feel that I'm probably putting better with that putter than I would be the short putter, so I'll end up using it for the rest of the tournament, I would anticipate. But I don't know if it's a short-term or long-term thing. But it feels good."

Matteson understands the short term. He is No. 97 in the FedEx Cup standings, knowing that only the top 70 advance to the third event outside Chicago and that he'd better play well this week or he'll be out.

"I look at it like the end of the school year," he said. "The end of the school year is almost here, so let's just see what happens. Your expectations probably lower a little bit. Then all of a sudden, you make a few birdies, and it's like, 'Well, that's not too bad.' Then you make a few more.

"By the end of the day, you're thinking, 'Gosh, how in the world did that day turn out the way it did?' "

Matteson was one shot clear of Donald, Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, former PGA champion Y.E. Yang and Jerry Kelly.

The group at 67 included Nick Watney, a two-time winner this year, and Dustin Johnson followed his playoff win at the Barclays with 68.

McIlroy shares lead at European Masters

CRANS-SUR-SIERRE, Switzerland — Rory McIlroy shot 2-under 69 to share the lead after the second round of the European Masters.

The U.S. Open winner, who had an eagle and a double bogey, closed at 8-under 134 along with Englishmen Gary Boyd (69) and Simon Dyson (68) and Jamie Donaldson (66) of Wales.

McIlroy missed a 4-foot putt for birdie at the 18th.

"I really wanted to make that to get into the lead on my own," the Northern Irishman said. "All in all, I'm tied for the lead, and it's not a bad position to be in."

Nick Dougherty (72), the first-round leader, ended his 21-tournament streak of not making the cut and closed a shot back. The Englishman had not reached weekend play since the Singapore Open in November.

Matteson leads, Lefty causes stir 09/02/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 2, 2011 10:41pm]

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