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August 8 2013

9:53 PM

Session on range aids Lefty

Phil Mickelson worked with Butch Harmon on the range after his round of 1-over 71 on Thursday.
(Franklin/Getty Images)

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- That double bogey at the 18th hole, his second of the day, was the kicker.

So Phil Mickelson signed for a disappointing 71 and headed straight to the range where he was soon joined by his instructor Butch Harmon. Together, the two used the last slivers of daylight to re-adjust his swing, and Mickelson will head into the second round of the PGA Championship with a little more confidence, as a result.

"I was working on the exact opposite thing that we needed to do, and I'm glad I had a few minutes with him, because I wanted to be able to think about what it is I'm going to be doing tomorrow tonight, as opposed to trying to find it in the morning," Mickelson said.

The reigning Open champ put himself behind the eight-ball early on Thursday at Oak Hill. He bogeyed the third hole and then hit it out of bounds on the par-5 fourth on the way to a double bogey, later saying the errant shot was like a "shock to my system."

"Out of bounds is not even in play, hit that so far right," Mickelson said. "And to make a double on a par 5, that's the only one we can get to that's a birdie hole, was awful."

Mickelson battled back, though, and got into red numbers with four birdies in a six-hole stretch that began at the ninth hole. But he drove it way left into the trees at the 18th hole and would have had to pitch it backwards to get into the fairway, leaving him a downhill lie with a 4-iron to the green.

So Mickelson opted to try to advance it forward through the trees. The result was his second double bogey and the SOS trip to the range.

"I thought, the way I felt hitting the shot, 5 was going to be tough and 6 was going to be in play," Mickelson said. "I was trying to get a 9-iron through the little gap so I would have a 100-yard shot left, and it hit a tree. I was fighting for 5 from the start, and I ended up making a 6. So it's not like I lost too much."

Mickelson is only six strokes off the lead held by Jim Furyk and Adam Scott. But it's not the way he started the last two majors -- seizing the lead at the U.S. Open with a 67 and shooting a solid 69 at Muirfield, where he would go on to win The Open Championship -- so he knew it was an opportunity lost.

"You need to get off to a good start that first round so you're not playing catch up all the time, which is why I've been successful the last two Open Championships, I played good first two rounds and didn't have to press the issue," Mickelson said.

"Now I've got to come out hot tomorrow and get a little more aggressive and attack and try to shoot something in the mid- to low-60s to get back in it for the weekend."

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