Friday, June 04, 2010
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Mickelson in prime spot after Memorial's 1st round

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[June 04, 2010]  DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) -- The first time Phil Mickelson saw Muirfield Village Golf Club was as a 16-year-old. His week of excitement was ruined by a loss at the U.S. Junior Amateur.

He's had several disappointments since at the course Jack Nicklaus built. But now he's hoping to finally win there while ruining things for Tiger Woods.

Mickelson took a solid step toward slipping past Woods and into the No. 1 spot in the world rankings with a 5-under 67 on Thursday in the rain-hampered opening round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village.

"I played here in the '86 Junior Am and fell in love with the place," said Mickelson, who has never finished higher than a tie for fourth in nine starts at the Memorial. "I don't know why I haven't been able to break through here, but I'm trying hard this week."

Mickelson was two shots back of co-leaders Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Geoff Ogilvy. Joining him at 67 were Andres Romero, Jason Day and Rory Sabbatini.


Fowler, making a case to be the top rookie on the PGA Tour, had three birdies, an eagle and another birdie on holes 4-8 to go from 1 over to 5 under. He holed a wedge from 90 yards for a 3 at the par-5 7th.

"I didn't see myself shooting 65 on it today," said Fowler, making his first appearance at the course. "I saw this as being a pretty tough course. You have to drive it well and the greens are pretty tricky. So I'm pretty stoked to go out the first tournament round and put up that number."

Ogilvie was stoked after taking the lead all by himself late in the day. But then he missed a 2 1/2-foot par putt on his 17th hole.

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Still, he couldn't have been much happier with the way he handled the greens.

"It was nice to hole the putts," he said after needing just 26. "If anything's been missing in my game the last little month or two, it's been putting."

Rose had the second tee time of the day and had to sit out a 2-hour suspension of play due to thunderstorms.

He started with a bogey but the break didn't prevent him from piling up eight birdies in a 12-hole span.

Muirfield Village "is a course you've got to play really smart on, which obviously the man who designed it was one of the best at that," Rose said. "I actually tend to play well on Nicklaus-designed courses. And I tend to putt well here."

[Associated Press; By RUSTY MILLER]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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