Mickelson pleased with results from new putter
By Joedy McCreary
CHARLOTTE ó Phil Mickelson is back on the course ó and he brought his putter.
After spending the past few weeks breaking in a new putter and working on his short game, Mickelson made an encouraging return to tournament play Thursday, finishing one stroke off the lead after one round of the Wachovia Championship.
His 4-under 68 included five birdies, a couldíve-been-worse bogey and, most importantly, some close-range consistency that was reminiscent of his only win of the year, a triumph in February at the Northern Trust Open.
iI made a lot of putts there, but I didnít feel good with the putter. They went in, but I didnít feel confident with the way they were rolling,î Mickelson said. iToday was a different day for me on the greens. I mean, not only did I make a lot, but the ones that missed were tracking and coming close to the edges.î
Playing at a Quail Hollow Club course where he has three top-seven finishes in four appearances, he posted numbers that back it up.
Mickelson made a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 1, his 10th hole of the day, and that came after he escaped No. 18 with a bogey. He sent his second shot into the water left of the green, took a drop, placed his fourth shot 8 feet from the pin and made that putt to generate some momentum.
LAST AMATEUR: Trevor Murphy skipped this weekendís Atlantic 10 championship for a shot at playing against the pros.
The Charlotte senior and last-minute qualifier shot a 71 ó not bad for an amateur playing one of the PGA Tourís roughest non-majors.
iI couldnít even feel the golf club in my hand on my first tee shot,î Murphy said.
Murphy didnít even make it into the field until earlier this week. Because his college team was off last weekend in preparation for the league championship in Orlando, Fla., the former world-class skiier entered himself in Mondayís qualifier and tied another player for the final spot through 18 holes.
He came back the next day for a playoff, needing two extra holes to claim a spot in a field that includes 18 of the worldís top 25 players.
iI told myself, ëI just want to break 80 and not slow anyone down in the group,í î Murphy said. iIt worked out well.î
PUTTING PROBLEMS: Geoff Ogilvyís poor putting kept him from taking the lead.
Ogilvy didnít have any bogeys during his opening-round 70, but he missed several reasonable birdie putts that prevented him from making a charge up the leaderboard.
He missed a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 8, his 17th hole, before tapping in a 2-footer, then finished his day by missing a 30-foot birdie attempt and making a 1-footer.
iJust missed putt after putt. It was horrible, really,î Ogilvy said. iIím not going to practice because practicing my putting tends to make me putt worse, so Iím going to go home and learn to putt better.î
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