- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Phil Mickelson did what he usually does on Thursdays at Quail Hollow Club: He played himself into contention at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Mickelson shot 3-under 69 in Round 1, leaving himself four shots off the lead of Andrew Loupe and Steve Wheatcroft.
"'I'm really happy with the start of the tournament, with the first round," Mickelson said. "I thought that there were some low scores out there if you played well, but the conditions and the wind made it difficult. The soft greens being receptive or somewhat receptive allowed us to be aggressive and to make some birdies."
Mickelson went out in even-par 36 for the first nine, but made three birdies in the first six holes of the back nine to get into early contention. He played the difficult three-hole closing stretch, called the Green Mile, in even to end with a satisfying first day despite not having his best stuff.
"I know that I can hit a lot better than I did today," he said. "I've been striking it a lot better this past week in my practice sessions and rounds than I feel I did today. But I managed my way around this golf course and hit the ball in the correct spots, left myself with up-and-downs that were uphill as the greens have become so fast that you get above the hole here, very difficult to get it close, and I just thought I kind of scored my way around."
The left-hander has a great track record at Quail Hollow. He's made the cut all 12 times he's played here, finished runner-up in in 2010, in third in 2007 and 2013 and has been in the top 10 in seven appearances. He likes the place. And, ever the optimist, Mickelson isn't concerned that at age 45 that his ability to win on this course -- which now stretches to almost 7,600 yards -- is eroding.
"It keeps me coming back because I feel like it's imminent," he said of that breakthrough win here. "I feel like I played well here so many times that I'll continue to give myself chances on the weekend. I really like the golf course."
LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: How golf has botched the Olympics