There were misfires into bunkers and errant shots played from rock croppings, but the swings that undid Phil Mickelson’s first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship Friday came from inside a hazard alongside the sixth green.
It’s a hole that hasn’t been kind to Mickelson over the years, although he took it to another level on yet an adventurous day around the golf course.
Mickelson, a winner in his debut at TPC Boston in 2007 and a confirmed admirer of the golf course, was off a nice start — 1 under through four holes. Even the bogey he made when he found a greenside bunker didn’t appear upsetting.
Then came the sixth.
Mickelson was center cut with his drive and had just 144 yards to a hole location front left. It was a miserable shot, a head-hanger from the get-go, and when it came up short in the hazard, it appeared to have double-bogey written all over it.
Only Lefty turned down the option of taking a drop and he maneuvered his way into the hazard to take a whack. Then, he needed a second. The ball barely moved each time and so finally, with it likely plugged in the mud, Mickelson chose to take a drop.
His sixth shot found the green, but two putts meant we had a September snowman, a quadruple-bogey eight. It was not the worst score of the day — Chez Reavie had a 9 at the par-5 seventh — but for Mickelson it most assuredly created too much ground to make up.
The adventures were not over, however, because at the par-5 seventh Mickelson played his third shot out of the trees and made bogey. He found a fairway bunker at the 15th, but scraped out a par. At 17, another greenside bunker, but another save. Then at 18, it was vintage Mickelson — wide right with his second into the par 5, he was standing inside the hazard line when he hit a skyscraper of a flop shot that landed within a foot for a tap-in birdie, just his second of the day.
A most positive ending to a most deflating of days (4-over 75), for Mickelson had come in excited about his game and his FedEx Cup chances. But all of it came to a crashing halt at the par-4 sixth, a hole on which he is now 13 over par in 36