Mickelson shoots 68 in return to PGA Tour | NevadaAppeal.com

Mickelson shoots 68 in return to PGA Tour

Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ) – Phil Mickelson wasted no time firing up fans with birdies on the opening two holes. Then came a sliced tee shot into the water and a nearly four-putt green. He birdied two of the last three holes.

A typical round for one of golf’s most unpredictable stars.

Returning to work for the first time since disclosing last month that wife Amy has breast cancer, Mickelson got off to a solid start in the St. Jude Classic with a 2-under 68 that left him four shots behind Brian Gay. Mickelson wore a pink ribbon stitched into the side of his white cap and at times looked fatigued.

Jose Maria Olazabal, a two-time Masters champion recently elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame, was the day’s surprise. Still coping with arthritis pain, the Spaniard shot a 66 to finish in a group that included Rich Beem and Graeme McDowell.

John Daly, playing on the PGA Tour for the first time since a six-month suspension for off-course activities that brought unwanted publicity, shot a 72.

Gay has narrowly missed out on qualifying for the first two majors, although he has one chance left. Having won at Hilton Head last month, a victory this week would get him into the U.S. Open. He led by one shot over Jimmy Walker.

LPGA Championship

HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. (AP) – Nicole Castrale birdied six of the first nine holes and finished with a 7-under 65 to take a one-shot lead over rookie Anna Nordqvist after the opening round of the LPGA Championship.

Castrale’s 6-under 30 was the lowest score on the front nine at Bulle Rock since the tournament moved from DuPont Country Club in 2005. Taking advantage of a wet course that slowed the greens, Castrale played virtually flawless golf until a drive into the rough on 18 led to her only bogey of the day.

Castrale, who had a career-low 64 at Bulle Rock in 2006, has one career win in seven years on the LPGA Tour – the 2007 Ginn Tribute – and hasn’t finished better than a tie for 15th this year. Nordqvist is playing in her fourth professional tournament.

China’s Shanshan Feng was third at 67.

Michelle Wie shot a 70, Lorena Ochoa had a 72, defending champion Yani Tseng was at 73, and Brittany Lincicome, seeking to win a second straight major, had five bogeys and a double bogey en route to a 75.