Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lefty Putting Himself in a Sticky Situation

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lefty Putting Himself in a Sticky Situation

Article excerpt

PINEHURST, N.C. -- The 114th U.S. Open is just a day old, and Phil Mickelson continues to be dogged by the same annoyances: Failure to make putts and an FBI investigation.

He can't explain the one.

And he won't talk about the other.

It was just another day at the national championship for Lefty, who put himself in position after one round to at least keep alive for another day his opportunity to a) win the one major championship that has eluded him, or b) finish second again.

"I'm never upset, anything off of par, it's usually a good score," Mickelson said when his day was over and he found himself five shots off the lead held by Martin Kaymer. "It's a good start. I didn't hurt myself any."

Not if you don't consider some of his putting woes.

Or his inability to get to the clubhouse without, well, hurting himself.

The latter was on display Thursday at Pinehurst No. 2, just as it seems to be everywhere Mickelson has played this season, where he just couldn't hold a share of the lead he had after 14 holes of the opening round.

Letting rounds slip away has been a recurring theme for Mickelson in 2014.

Most recently, he did it in the first round of the Memorial when he was 5 under for 15 holes, only to finish with a bogey and then two double bogeys.

It wasn't that bad this time, but two bogeys in the final four holes certainly doesn't constitute a charge to the finish line. Not after Mickelson got to 2 under with a two-putt birdie from the fringe at the par-5 fifth.

"I had a chance to get 3, 4, 5 under today had I made some makeable opportunities," Mickelson said. "But I didn't throw anything away on some of the short ones. I didn't miss a fairway with my driver, it's an unusual thing for me. The driver feels really good. I think that's the club that is going to help me play well this week. And the one club that's hurting me is the putter.

"I feel good on short putts, but I've got to make some 15-, 20- footers, the ones that can go either way, to shoot a good enough number here. There's not enough pins that you can go at and send that 20-footer up the hill. I've got to make some of those."

No player in the history of the U. …

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