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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Phi Mickelson has some work to do if he's going to hang around for the weekend at THE PLAYERS Championship.

Mickelson opened with a 75 that was his highest score at TPC Sawgrass since the final round of the 2009 event, a span of 15 rounds. Mickelson shot 76 that day.

The popular lefthander made four bogeys and an 11-footer at the fourth hole for his lone birdie on Thursday. Mickelson, who won THE PLAYERS in 2007, only hit eight fairways and 13 greens in regulation, taking 33 putts.

"It's soft, there's just a lot of birdies out there," Mickelson said. "Yeah, it's a little disappointing and frustrating."

The round was just another head-scratcher in a year of inconsistency for the reigning British Open champion. Mickelson is still looking for his first top-10 finish of the season -- although he did share 11th last week at the Wells Fargo Championship on the strength of a third-round 63.  

"I don't know. I don't know," Mickelson said when asked why he couldn't take advantage on Thursday. "I don't feel like any parts of the game are bad, I just have a hard time seeing the ball go in the hole and getting it to go in the hole."

There is no confusion about Friday's task, though.   

"Come out and try to play as hard as I can and see how low I can shoot," Mickelson said. "But I'm not real worried about it, it's just not quite clicking right now."

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