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March 30 2012

6:42 PM

Mickelson shoots 65

By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM HUMBLE , Texas – Phil Mickelson called it a fun round. Well,  a fun 15 holes that completed his weather-delayed first round, anyway. Much better than the first three holes he played Thursday before severe thunderstorms rolled through the area and suspended play. Mickelson made a ton of putts and survived one ugly mud ball at the 13 th to open defense of his 2011 SHO title with a 7-under 65 – the exact number he shot in the final round 52 weeks ago to win here at Redstone. “The course is in immaculate shape,’’ said Mickleson, who won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am earlier this year. “We had great conditions today without the wind, and the golf course was soft and so you could get at a lot of pins, lot of the tucked pins you could get at. Played aggressively today. ‘’ So were playing partners Fred Couples, who shot a 67, and defending Masters champ Charl Schwartzel, who shot 69. Mickelson’s only oops on the card? A bogey at 13 from that mudball. "I played really well,’’ he said. “I swung it well and, you know, there's not much you can do about stuff like that. Every shot in the fairway had a bunch of mud on it. It was tough maneuvering around there.’’ But, he added, “if you could get it on the surface, you felt like could you make some putts.” Mickelson headed off to grab a quick bite to eat before heading to the 10 th tee to start his second round. And, no, 33 holes in a day isn’t too much. In Mickel-land, it works. “I like being able to come out and play a lot of holes in one day because if you start playing well, you get in a good rhythm, you can really make a lot of birdies, especially out here,’’ he said. “It might be a benefit to play 33 holes today." “I feel I’ve been playing well and I can get a good rhythm going for the day.’’
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