Friday, January 27, 2012

Mickelson Struggling at Torrey Pines

Phil Mickelson cut a sorry figure in California, yesterday, finishing the first day of the Farmers Insurance Open on five-over-par 72, to tie for 147 on the leaderboard. The three-time Masters champion is currently trailing his compatriots, and current leaders, Spencer Levin and Kyle Stanley, by 15 points.

Mickelson, at 14/1, is the fourth-favourite to win the Masters Tournament at Augusta, in April, behind Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Lee Westwood. However, if his performance at Torrey Pines is any kind of indicator, the bookmakers have been a little too generous to the 41-year-old American. People following the best US Masters odds online need to remember this.

With seven bogeys on the opening day, Mickelson starts the second round on the back foot. He made just two shots under par, yesterday, at the 6th and 17th, as his accuracy with the driver fell to under 50 perfect. His putting, often described as his forte, was decidedly average; he made 32 attempts with the stick, over the course of the day.

Mickelson's nightmare in the first round is disappointing for the left-hander, in more ways than one. The HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi has drawn a number of 'big names' away from the Farmers Open, this week a development that leaves Mickelson as one of the few household names in California.

While it would be unfair to the other golfers at Torrey Pines to suggest that this year's line-up poses less of a challenge to Mickelson, the absence of Tiger Woods, the 'poster-boy' of the Farmers Open, had presented Lefty with an opportunity to rack up some points without Woods breathing down his neck.

Tiger, who is currently tied for third in Abu Dhabi, chose to play in the HSBC Championship, alongside Rory McIlroy, due to the larger prize offered by the organisers, both in terms of money and rankings points. Woods is hoping to stake a claim on Luke Donald's no.1 slot on the Rankings, in time for the start of the Masters Tournament.

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