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BMW Championship: Lack of Practice Rounds Hurt Phil Mickelson to Start Tournament

Phil Mickelson BMW Championship Round 1

Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

It may not have been quite the start that Phil Mickelson was looking for at the BMW Championship, but he fared better than much of the field. Lefty finished the first round with a one under par 70, good enough to put him in a tie for 18th position. He’s currently seven shots behind leader Brandt Snedeker.

Mickelson got off to a rocky start with a bogey at the second hole. He knocked in a few pars before carding a birdie at the seventh, which he promptly gave back on the very next hole. A streak of three straight birdies near the end of his round – from the 14th to 16th holes – got him back to red figures.

I would have to attribute Mickelson’s slow start to the fact that he didn’t get in any practice rounds this week, showing up the evening before the tournament began. That normally wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this is the first time that Conway Farms has hosted a PGA Tour event, so Mickelson hasn’t had the opportunity to play here in a competitive format before. It’s tough to come out of the gates at a huge tournament with very little knowledge of the course and expect to perform well. “I’ll feel more comfortable tomorrow. I’ll have to get a little bit more aggressive.  I think I was a little cautious today not knowing what to expect,” the left-hander said.

Now that he is somewhat familiar with the track, Mickelson plans on playing more aggressively for the remainder of the event. “Everything is fine,” Mickelson said. “I’m here now, I’m ready to play. But I just needed to be a little cautious this first round before I attack it tomorrow,” he said, giving a little insight into his game plan. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that he plans on attacking and playing aggressively – that’s been his philosophy for quite some time.

There are scoring chances out there this week, as the birdie streak to end his round indicates. He just has to make sure that he puts himself in position to be able to attack. “I actually had a warm-up session that wasn’t great, and I was more nervous because of that,” Mickelson explained. “I was able to kind of get it turned around and hit some solid shots there at the end.” We’ll have to wait until Mickelson starts his second round at 10:53 am from the tenth tee to see if he is able to take the fight to the course or if he is forced to lay off the gas.

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Carl Conrad is the Senior Golf Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.