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Hard to tell what stuff Mickelson was working with on this day. It began bright and early with him standing on the first tee box watching Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player hit the ceremonial first tee shots. About eight hours later, Mickelson was stomping through the brush with dozens of fans, spending the full five minutes looking for a lost ball left of the 10th fairway.
He never found it and ended up with a triple-bogey 7. Three birdies down the stretch, including one of only seven made all day on No. 18, still left him at 2-over 74.
"It was a very poor swing on 10," Mickelson said. "I knew walking off the green at 4 over I wasn't going to get them all back before the round was through. But if I could just get a couple back, I felt like I could get some back on the following day."
Indeed, "tomorrow," had to be on Stenson's mind after a final hole that ruined all his good work over the first 17.
Stenson spent almost the entire day in the lead at 6 under and looked like he'd be celebrating his 36th birthday with cake, presents and at least a share of the first-round lead.
Not to be.
He smashed his tee shot on 18 deep into the woods, couldn't get out after trying to scoot the ball below some trees, then got a bad lie on trampled pine straw and hit a mediocre punch out on his third shot, which had him pounding his club into the ground. His fourth shot, from 122 yards, missed the green. He chunked his chip, then needed three putts to limp in with an 8 and a score of 1-under 71 -- in contention but tied for 14th after spending the day in first.
"If I would have gotten the second shot out on the fairway, it would have been a different story. That's normally what happens," Stenson said. "You make a little mistake and then you compound it with another one, and it just keeps on snowballing, and I got the snowman in the end."
Westwood never came close to anything like that.
"I figured if I drive the ball well, which I generally do, then I'm going to have a chance to get it close to flags and from there, it's just an issue of how many putts I hole," he said.
Yes, he made it sound easy. He knows as well as anyone, though, that it's always easier on a Thursday.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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