SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Phil Mickelson eased into a new season on Thursday, content with a score of two-under par 70 that in fact is considerably closer to the top of the leaderboard than simple numbers indicate.
Mickelson was playing the South Course at Torrey Pines, a former U.S. Open course that it substantially more difficult than the North Course, which is among the easiest on the PGA Tour. Fourteen of the top 15 scores in the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open here were recorded on the North.
"I'll take a couple under on the South Course," Mickelson said. "The course is playing long, and it's not the easiest to go low on. I played a little cautious today, trying to not make too many mistakes and keep myself in it because tomorrow the North Course is a course that provides the opportunity to shoot a low round."
Mickelson's position is a tie for 40th, but his score tied for the seventh lowest among those playing the South Course.
"i was a little more cautious because I didn't want to make too many big mistakes," he said. "I want to work my way in the tournament. Nicklaus used to talk about that in majors, that he wanted to try to progress as the week went along, and I didn't want to try to come out and win the tournament on Thursday. It's just not possible. I wanted to try to build into it, so I'm hoping I play better tomorrow and shoot a low score on the North, good enough to get myself in contention for the weekend."
-- John Strege