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Phil Mickelson struggles, fires first round 71 at PGA Championship

By Evan Hilbert |

Phil Mickelson's opening 71 has him six shots off the pace at the PGA Championship.
Phil Mickelson's opening 71 has him six shots off the pace at the PGA Championship. (USATSI)

Things didn't start particularly well for Phil Mickelson, and though Lefty was able to settle down for a time, the British Open champion had a rough first round at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., on Thursday.

Mickelson's troubles started early, with a bogey at the par 3 third and a double bogey at the fourth, a par 5. He managed a birdie at the ninth, making the turn with a 2-over 37.

But Mickelson -- who is in search of his second PGA Championship -- was able to put together something of a run on the back nine, making birdies at three of the first five holes on that side.

He had an interesting finish to his round, however, after missing the fairway left on the 18th hole. Mickelson tried to hit a spectacular, if unnecessarily risky, second shot through the trees, but he didn't make it out. He played his third into the fairway, though he wasn't able to get up and down for bogey.

Instead of looking to climb the leaderboard Friday, Mickelson may find himself battling to simply make the cut. But Mickelson certainly showed flashes of being able to go low at Oak Hill, but he'll need to avoid trouble better than he did Thursday.

The threesome of Mickelson, Adam Scott, and Justin Rose -- the three major champions thus far in 2013 -- will tee off Friday at 8:35 a.m. ET.

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