By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- For the second straight week, Phil Mickelson has let opportunity pass him by.
This time he was playing the North Course at Torrey Pines, which was the easiest in relation to par on the PGA TOUR last year. Mickelson could do no better than an even par 72 so he will start the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open tied for 90th and facing an uphill battle to make the cut.
"Very lethargic off the first tee," Mickelson said. "I've got to get my head a little bit more focused on the shots, and I haven't been as mentally focused starting out. So, hopefully, I'll be able to turn that around tomorrow and start a little bit more effectively in the future."
A week ago, Mickelson turned what should have been a birdiefest at La Quinta into another 72. Granted, he shot 17 under over the next three rounds but the San Diegan has a much greater challenge on Friday.
Mickelson must play the South Course -- a layout tough enough to host the 2008 U.S. Open -- with just 18 holes to make the cut in a tournament that he's won three times. That's not to say there aren't low scores out there, after all, co-leader K.J. Choi shot 65 there on Thursday, but the South played to an average of 71.718 in the first round.
"It's going to take some exceptional golf over on the South, but three of the rounds are on the South," Mickelson said. "And there are some low scores out there if you play the course right and effectively. There's probably half the holes where you've got to play for par and the other half you can make some birdies."
Mickelson, who only hit two fairways and 11 greens in regulation during the first round, was at a loss to explain his inability to get untracked on Thursday. He simply wasn't focused and he paid the price.
"That's something I'm going to be working on tomorrow is getting a better mental picture of the shot I'm trying to hit and create it," he said. "Trying to ... hold it longer while I'm creating the shot, while I'm creating the swing, but I haven't been as sharp as I need to be."