• Byron Nelson Championship, Round One

Mickelson misses chance on 'perfect day'

ESPN staff
May 17, 2012
Phil Mickelson had 33 putts on day one © PA Photos


Phil Mickelson, newly inducted into golf's Hall of Fame, had a day to forget on Thursday at the Byron Nelson Championship.

World No. 10 Mickelson has enjoyed an impressive season and came close to winning The Masters, but he failed to recapture that form as he signed for a level-par 70.

Ryan Palmer leads at six under, one shot ahead of Marc Leishman and Alex Cejka.

In benign conditions early in the day at TPC Four Seasons, Mickelson failed to take advantage, with his driving and putting both looking decidedly sloppy.

He landed on just four of 14 fairways as he repeatedly found himself playing from unfavourable lies - and although he hit plenty of greens, he was regularly too far from the hole to be confronted with a genuine birdie opportunity.

There were some highlights - notably a 16-foot putt at the first - but apart from that, there was not much that will linger in the memory.

"I'm frustrated that I'm letting shots slide here or there," Mickelson said. "We had a perfect day. There was no wind. You couldn't ask for a better day. There are some low scores out there and plenty of birdies. I didn't take advantage of it."

There was also disappointment for Mickelson's playing partner Ernie Els, another veteran who has been in contention on a few occasions this season. The South African recorded a 70 and said: "It could've been a lot better. [The course] played as easy as you're ever going to see it."

Padraig Harrington was five under at one point, helped mainly by a chip-in eagle at the seventh - only to fall away on the back nine, eventually posting a 68.

Defending champion Keegan Bradley is three under, one shot behind Matt Kuchar, who won at Sawgrass last week.

Adam Scott faces a battle to make the cut, having only managed a 73.

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