Mickelson targets repeat last-day duel with Tiger at Doral
MIAMI, Mar 2: Phil Mickelson set his sights on another last-day duel with Tiger Woods at the Doral Championship after ending the first round a shot behind the world number one.
Mickelson, who was overhauled by Woods in a gripping finale to last year's tournament, fired a flawless, seven-under-par 65 to stand in a five-way share of second place at the Doral Resort and Spa yesterday.
''It seems as though this guy, Tiger, seems to play well every day, every week,'' Mickelson told reporters after Woods forged one stroke clear with a first-round 64.
''I'm just trying to keep pace. I'm trying to maybe have another shot at duelling out with him on Sunday, and I'm glad that he's playing well. I've got to do my part and stay with him.'' Two behind Mickelson last year at the start of the final round, Woods holed a 30-foot birdie putt at the 17th on his way to a six-under-par 66 and a one-shot victory.
Mickelson had a chance to force a playoff with a birdie at the last, but lipped out with a 30-foot chip from just off the edge of the green.
Twelve months on, Mickelson made sure he did not monitor the leaderboard until late on in his opening round.
''I don't look too much on Thursday and Friday, I tend to on the weekend more,'' the American world number five said.
''I was walking up on the eighth green, my 17th hole, and saw that he was eight under.
''I was trying to get the one on last to pull even with him but I just couldn't quite do it.'' Mickelson, who has produced four top-10 finishes in his first five PGA Tour starts of the year, relished the near-perfect scoring conditions on the par-72 Blue Course.
''With the greens being receptive and without any wind, we're going to make birdies,'' he said.
''I think that leads to exciting golf this week.
''I think it's great. There's just nothing wrong with letting us make a few birdies every now and then.
''I really enjoyed the day,'' added Mickelson, whose most recent PGA Tour victory was the U.S. PGA Championship at Baltusrol last August.
''It was a nice day where you know you have to make birdies, but you try to be patient.
''You have 18 holes to make a bunch of them. Try to use all 18 holes and you'll have a good round.''