Mickelson in the right mind, Seamus in Power

Phil Mickelson of the United States hits his second shot on the 13th hole during the opening round of the St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind on Thursday. He was among 11 players who carded a four-under 66, one shot off the lead of Ireland's Seamus Powe
Phil Mickelson of the United States hits his second shot on the 13th hole during the opening round of the St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind on Thursday. He was among 11 players who carded a four-under 66, one shot off the lead of Ireland's Seamus Power.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Phil Mickelson, aiming to fill the glaring gap on his Major resume at next week's US Open, was pleased to finish one off the first-round lead of Seamus Power on Thursday at the St Jude Classic.

Mickelson, who has six runner-up finishes at the US Open and could complete a career Grand Slam with a victory next week, said he kept his round together despite some late struggles at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee.

"I finished the round off, even though I didn't quite have it there at the end," said the 47-year-old American, whose round included an eagle at the par-five third hole.

"I had a nice simple round going and then I missed the last four fairways. I was able to gather myself if you will and control my thoughts a little bit better."

Mickelson was among 11 players sharing second behind Ireland's Power, who had six birdies and one bogey in his five-under 65.

Power enjoyed a solid round, capped by a birdie at the 18th, where he landed his approach shot within five feet of the pin.

Brooks Koepka, the reigning US Open champion, joined Mickelson on four-under 66, while world No. 2 Dustin Johnson headed another group on three-under 67.

"Three-under is a solid score around here," Johnson said.

"I felt like I played a little better than that but, if I can keep hitting it like I am now, I'll continue to shoot good scores."

The US Golf Association (USGA), meanwhile, vowed there would be no repeat of the fiasco of 2004 ahead of the US Open's return to Shinnecock Hills.

The historic course on New York's Long Island last hosted the Major 14 years ago, when the USGA's zeal for demanding course set-up backfired as blistering winds dried and damaged the greens.

But USGA chief executive Mike Davis feels that technological advances since then means this time round, the tournament will not be plagued by the same issues.

"It was certainly a bogey last time, probably a double-bogey... I can assure you, that was not what the USGA wanted," he said.

"Now we have a lot more technology, a lot more data in our hands."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ST JUDE CLASSIC

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2018, with the headline 'Mickelson in the right mind, Seamus in Power'. Print Edition | Subscribe