Northern Trust Open 2012: Red-Hot Phil Mickelson Leads After Round 1

Carlos TorresContributor IFebruary 17, 2012

Phil Mickelson is still red-hot from last week. He fired a 66, which is just five-under-par, and leads at the conclusion of the opening round at the Northern Trust Open.

Just four days after his remarkable closing to win at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Mickelson seems to still have the hot hand, and played like it on Sunday.

He leads J.B. Holmes and Hunter Mahan by one shot.

But, Holmes has to be the feel good story on the tournament thus far. After having to wait until this year to make his comeback after brain surgery, he finds himself atop the leaderboard after round one.

He was on fire  on the back-nine today. He blitzed the first five holes, making four birdies on his way to a four-under and the lead.

His next birdie came after making the turn on the first hole, his 10th of the day. He was at five-under-par and two clear on the lead of Mickelson.

Mickelson seemed to have taken the things right where he left them at Pebble Beach. He played the front-nine at two-under-par, and made back-to-back birdies to start the back-nine.

That moved him within one stroke of Holmes.

Holmes then made back-to-back bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes, dropping to three-under-par and one behind Mickelson.

Battle had been declared.

Meanwhile, Mickelson made another birdie on the 13th hole and was at five-under-par, two clear of Holmes and Jonathan Byrd. Byrd was the early clubhouse leader.

But Holmes roared back, making consecutive birdies at the sixth and seventh holes, tying Mickelson for the moment. He was at the lead with five-under-par.

His lead was short lived, as Holmes made a double-bogey on the par-four eight hole. This was a product of his tee shot landing on the right rough, and the subsequent three-putt sequence at the green.

Holmes was able to close his round with a birdie on the ninth hole, and locked into a tie with Mickelson, who had dropped a shot with a bogey on the 16th hole.

Then came the 18th hole for Mickelson.

His drive found the right rough, and his second shot was over the green and landed in the intermediate rough. His shot was just off the green and within 12 yards of the cup.

The shot of the day for Mickelson was sinking his birdie chip to finish his round five-under-par. This earned him the outright lead.

It was a remarkable shot and a great opening round of play for Mickelson.

As for Mahan, he also had a great start from the back-nine. He started by making back-to-back birdies to start his round, and after a bogey on the 15th hole, he regained the shot with a birdie on the next hole.

But he dropped back to even-par right before making the turn on the par-four 18th.

His second shot went wide right to the other hole on the right. He had to play from there his third shot. This led to him making a double-bogey which cost him the outright lead today.

He was sensational on the back-nine, especially when he reeled off a string of four straight birdies from the fifth hole. This left him at four-under-par 67 today, and with a share of the lead.

Jonathan Byrd was off to a flying start today, as he had a birdie on the opening hole. He then added two more on the third and seventh holes.

On the par-four seventh hole, Byrd’s approach second shot was to within two feet of the cup. He then made the easy birdie putt.

But, on the back-nine, he made two bogeys and two birdies to play it even and stay at three-under-par for the day.

Carl Pettersson is tied for fourth place with Byrd, at three-under-par. He made the turn at two-under-par and started the back-nine with a birdie. However, he was not able to muster another birdie the rest of the way.

Behind Pettersson and Byrd, the leaderboard is packed with eight players tied for sixth place with two-under-par 70 for the day.

K.J. Choi, Matt Kuchar, Sergio Garcia, Brendan Steele, Brandt Jobe, Rory Sabbatini and Stewart Cink are bottled-up in that group.

One shot behind, is a group of 10 players tied for 14th place at one-under-par 70.

Among the notables was the world’s No. 1 player, Luke Donald. He played evenly throughout the day, making two birdies at the first and 16th holes, and a bogey at 14th hole.

Donald showed his best and his worst on those three holes. On the birdie holes, he made the putts when he needed them. Yet, on the 14th, he misread the five-foot par-putt and ended three feet away from the hole. He then made the bogey putt.

Also at one-under-par is Bubba Watson. He started on the back-nine today and was in the lead at four-under-par after 13 holes played. He then made bogeys on three of the last five holes, and fell off the top of the leaderboard.

Keegan Bradley and Jeremy Rose are also at one-under-par for the day.

There were some notables who just couldn’t find the red scores even if they were in front of them.

Defending champion, Aaron Badddley, was among this group. He started on the back-nine and made four birdies. He made four bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-four 12th.

On that 12th hole, he was victim of a bad tee-shot to the right rough, and had to lay-up with his second. Then, when he finally reached the green, he had to three-putt on the green.

Nick Watney and Jim Furyk were under-par and near the top today, but fell apart late.

Watney started on the back-nine and was at three-under-par. He was just one off of Watson’s lead then after 10 holes, but then his game fell off as he made five bogeys on his final eight holes.

Adam Scott is in the group tied for 61st with Watney at two-over-par. The Australian was never a factor today, and definitely showed some rust from his three-month layoff.

FedEx Cup points leader Kyle Stanley is T at four-over-par, and he is joined by Rickie Fowler, Mark Wilson and Brand Snedeker.

Action resumes tomorrow for the second round. Below, you can find the tee times for some of the notables.


ROUND 2 TEE TIMES (Notables)

Riviera Country Club Tee #1



7:16 am

Mahan, Hunter

Ogilvy, Geoff

Singh, Vijay

7:27 am

Bradley, Keegan

Kuchar, Matt

Howell III, Charles

7:48 am

Lunde, Bill

Els, Ernie

Leonard, Justin

7:58 am

Sabbatini, Rory

Clark, Tim

Harrington, Padraig

11:51 am

Fowler, Rickie

Barnes, Ricky

Wi, Charlie

12:01 pm

Donald, Luke

Scott, Adam

Watney, Nick

12:12 pm

Johnson, Dustin

Watson, Bubba

Baddeley, Aaron

12:22 pm

Kirk, Chris

Steele, Brendan

Villegas, Camilo

12:43 pm

Furyk, Jim

Hoffman, Charley

Immelman, Trevor

1:15 pm

Lovemark, Jamie

Biershenk, Tommy

Cantlay, Patrick*

1:25 pm

Ishikawa, Ryo

Lee, Danny

Spieth, Jordan*

* - denotes amateur player

Riviera Country Club Tee #10



7:16 am

Day, Jason

Garcia, Sergio

Couples, Fred

7:27 am

Mickelson, Phil

Stanley, Kyle

Snedeker, Brandt

7:37 am

Points, D.A.

Johnson, Zach

Beckman, Cameron

7:48 am

Pettersson, Carl

Lamely, Derek

Yang, Y.E.

7:58 am

Laird, Martin

Bradley, Michael

Mediate, Rocco

11:40 am

Levin, Spencer

Stadler, Kevin

Gillis, Tom

12:01 pm

Wilson, Mark

Choi, K.J.

Woodland, Gary

12:12 pm

Haas, Bill

Rose, Justin

Byrd, Jonathan

12:22 pm

Na, Kevin

Taylor, Vaughn

Kim, Anthony

12:43 pm

Wagner, Johnson

Molder, Bryce

Bettencourt, Matt

 For a complete listing of the tournament tee times from the PGA Tour web page, click here.






Friday Feb. 17

Golf Channel - 3:00-6:00 pm EST

Sirius XM – 12:00-6:00 pm EST

Saturday Feb. 18

CBS – 3:00-6:00 pm EST

Sirius XM – 12:00-6:00 pm EST

Sunday Feb. 19

CBS – 3:00-6:30 pm EST

Sirius XM – 12:00-6:00 pm EST



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