FORT WORTH, Texas (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson swiftly turned to his swing coach Butch Harmon for direction after squandering a promising start at the Colonial Invitational on Thursday.
Champion here in 2000 and 2008, Mickelson birdied the first two holes before losing his way en route to a one-over-par 71 in the opening round.
“I played well the first four holes and the last 14 I hit the ball terrible so I will have some work to do,” the American world number two told reporters after ending a hot day at Colonial Country Club eight strokes behind leading Americans Jeff Overton, Jason Bohn and Blake Adams.
“Already I was in there texting Butch so I’ve got some direction in the morning, I will probably get out here for an early session.
“I hit it sideways off the tee, I hit terrible iron shots,” he said after finding only five of 14 fairways off the tee. “Fortunately, I actually putted decent today or else it could have been a lot worse.”
Asked if the steamy conditions at Colonial had had an impact, left-hander Mickelson replied: “There is no excuse. There was no wind.
“The golf course has been in perfect shape and there are a lot of scores out there. I just wasn’t one of them,” the U.S. Masters champion said after a round of three birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey at the seventh.
Mickelson, who would replace Tiger Woods as world number one with victory this week, felt he should be able to take advantage of an earlier tee time for Friday’s second round.
“The greens should be perfect and if I can get a few iron shots close to the hole I should be able to make a run,” the four-times major winner said.
“I have an idea of what I’ve been doing. I will try to get out here a little early and get a practice session if it’s not too hot and see if I can get it turned around.”
Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Ian Ransom
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