The Valero Texas Open finally got underway after a two and a half hour delay due to fog at TPC San Antonio on Thursday morning. In his first appearance in 22 years, Phil Mickelson got off to an inauspicious start at the J.W. Marriott course North of San Antonio. The five-time major champion is seeking his first top ten finish this season as he prepares for the Masters, but a double bogey at the 18th hole sent him to the clubhouse with a five over par 77.
Playing with 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth and the defending champ, Martin Laird, the aging super star couldn’t seem to find a fairway, or a putting stroke. Mickelson has struggled with his back, and his putter all year, and it all seemed to show up on Thursday.
Phil made his only two birdies of the day on the front nine, but couldn’t overcome three bogeys, and made the turn at 37. It didn’t get much better on the back side as he made two more bogeys before the debacle at 18.
He was able to hit over 60% of the difficult fairways at TPC San Antonio, but a 50% average of finding greens was spotty at best. The real killer was the -3.720 strokes gained putting. I think Phil is struggling so much with his swing right now, and hasn’t spent much time with the flat stick.
Tied for 96th position with the second half of the field just teeing off, It will be tough for Phil to make the cut unless he finds something positive over night. He is also scheduled to play in Houston next week before heading to Augusta where he has won three times.