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July 4 2013

6:27 PM

Mickelson opens with a disappointing 74


Phil Mickelson continues to search for his first below-par round at The Old White TPC. (Trotman/Getty Images)

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Phil Mickelson is still looking for his first sub-par round at The Old White TPC after shooting a disappointing 74 in the first round of The Greenbrier Classic.

Mickelson did most on the damage on the final two holes with a water-logged triple bogey at the 17th and a bogey on the par-3 18th where he missed an 8-footer to save par. The round of 4 over was his highest in three abbreviated apperances in The Greenbrier Classic -- Mickelson has missed the cut each of the first two years.

"Well, I played the last two holes 4 over, which is not good," Mickelson said. "... I felt like I was playing really well heading in here and I don't play this course well. I don't know what the reasoning is, it's just giving me problems the last few years."

Mickelson hit 10 of 14 fairways on Thursday but only found 10 greens in regulation. His 32 putts on a day when a damp Old White TPC was being extremely generous didn't help, either -- the big lefthander had entered the week ranked eighth in strokes-gained putting but was 152nd on Thursday.

"No. 1 is a great example where I hit a perfect tee shot in the middle of the fairway, I hit a great 9-iron to six feet, and I end up missing the putt," Mickelson said. "It's one of those deals where I just don't score well here, I don't know why."

Reading the greens has been problematic for Mickelson -- particularly on the 5- to 6-footers.

"They look so straight to me and they're moving quite a bit," he explained. "So I'm having a tough time adjusting to this golf course.  It's subtly challenging."

But Mickelson, who won his 41st event earlier this year and tied for second in his last two starts, including at the U.S. Open, refused to let the round get him down.

"I don't feel bad about my game," he said. "I'll come out tomorrow, see how low I can go. I look forward to these next couple of weeks, because I know I'm shooting low scores and I'm playing well, so I'm not going to let a bad round on a course that I've struggled with in the past get to me."

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