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Mickelson on Top to Start the Northern Trust Open: A Fan’s Take
The Northern Trust Open from Riveria Country Club in the Pacific Palisades is hosting the strongest field of competition for the PGA Tour thus far this season. Among the biggest names to participate in the event include the likes of Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Fred Couples. Also, recent winners Kyle Stanley and Brandt Snedeker are competing in the tournament.
High winds and tough hole locations made the course particularly difficult. Bubba Watson was the early leader, but two bogeys on holes 17 and 18 made for a round of -1. Many of the contenders were having difficulty saving their scores after they made the turn like Bubba. The pin locations made for some aggressive playing and the bunkers gobbled many of the shots that were otherwise destined to land on the green if not for the power gusts from the ocean.
The story of the day surrounded Phil Mickelson. Coming fresh off his win at Pebble Beach last year where he out shined Tiger and the rest of the field, Mickelson continued his hot streak. With two birdies on the front nine and and four on the back, Phil wowed fans. He only had one bogey on the day. What made the performance even more spectacular was the fact that Mickelson is fresh off of surgery. It did not show in his playing during the first round.
J.B. Holmes and Hunter Mahan are only one shot back. Holmes had a crazy Thursday with eight birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey. He had an impressive string of birdies starting at hole eight and ending at the twelfth. Mahan also made eight birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey. Both golfers will need to settle down and play more consistent golf to have a shot at victory later in the week.
Other big names high on the leaderboard also include K.J. Choi, Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar. The tournament is bound to have many more twists. I will enjoy watching how the drama unfolds. Can Mickelson match the magic that he had at Pebble Beach or will he have another fall from the top of the leaderboard? Stay tuned and keep watching to find out.
I am an avid golf fan. I enjoy playing recreational on local courses and watching the PGA Tour. I also like keeping up to date with all the new faces to the game.
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