Mickelson opened with a 1-under 71 Thursday at Augusta National. (Ehrmann/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Phil Mickelson isn't known for being conservative on the golf course.
He was Thursday, and it cost him -- at least a few shots, anyway.
Mickelson shot a 1-under 71 and trails by five after the opening round of the Masters, where he is looking for his fourth career Green Jacket and second since 2010.
"I thought I would come out a little bit passive and tentative and I did," Mickelson said. "I didn't feel great starting out or confident."
Most of that stemmed from some recent struggles that included a 79 and a missed cut at Bay Hill.
Mickelson also hadn't played since the Shell Houston Open two weeks ago. He typically prefers to play the week before a major.
"It was a round where it didn't help me much," he said of Thursday. "But it certainly didn't hurt me."
What did were three bogeys in his first seven holes.
"I didn't hit my irons good, I didn't hit anything good, " he said. "I don't want to put much stock in the front."
The back nine was a different story, mostly, with Mickelson making four birdies in a five-hole stretch between Nos. 12 and 16.
But he also struggled with the pace of the greens, which were slower than normal on an overcast day with a heavy air hanging over Augusta National.
"Consequently we have 45 people at par or better," Mickelson said. "That means that I've got to change my whole mindset and just get after these pins, because the ball's not running like it used to.
"I'm giving this course way too much respect because of my past knowledge than the way I should be playing it."