PGA Championship 2019: Phil Mickelson back in contention at a major after 1-under 69

Written By Thomas Lott
Phil Mickelson
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Major tournaments are better when Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are in contention and at least one of those players is in shouting distance of the leader after Round 1.

Mickelson shot a 1-under 69 to finish his day in a tie for ninth place alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and three-time major winner Jordan Spieth.

Mickelson had some trouble to start his day as he went to the ninth hole at 2 over, but he birdied three of his next four holes to move to 1 under and in firm contention moving into the second round.

"I let a lot of shots slide the first eight holes and then I made up a lot of shots off the last 10, so the game feels good,"  Mickelson told TNT after his round.

"The golf course is such a good, fair, hard, tough test but if you play well you saw a couple guys go really low, you can do that out there, it's set up very fair, but if you don't play well you can see a lot of guys go high."

Brooks Koepka leads the tournament at 7 under after Round 1 and Danny Lee sits one shot back, but, after that, Tommy Fleetwood is the closest golfer at 3-under par.

There were a lot of players who finished the day over par and that's due to the length and difficulty of the course that carries a disclaimer for amateur golfers who play it throughout the year.

"It is a challenging long golf course, and what's cool about it is we're playing major championships on a municipal golf course," Mickelson said.

"And Bethpage 2002 really set the tone in doing that for the first time, I think it's really neat."

Mickelson — whose one PGA Championship victory came in the Tri-State area in 2005 — found himself surrounded by crowds throughout the day and revelled in the atmosphere after his round.

"It's the best," he said. "It's hard to explain how good it feels to walk up 18 and have that reception, it means a lot to me and I'm very appreciative and I love coming back to this area."


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