Wild off the tee but having fun, Phil Mickelson kicks off his 2020 campaign

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LA QUINTA, Calif. — Phil Mickelson is in his first year as the tournament host for the PGA Tour’s stop in La Quinta now known as The American Express. 

And in his first competitive round of 2020 on Thursday, he spent a lot of time interacting with the gallery. Unfortunately, that came not from his kind-spirited nature, but from a lack of accuracy off the tee.

Mickelson was wild off the tee — hitting just five of 14 fairways — but still showed plenty of game racking up par saves, and making birdie on all four par-5s to put together an up-and-down round of 2-under-par 70 at La Quinta Country Club. 

Mickelson wasn’t in bad spirits about the round, but it’s a far cry from his sizzling opening-round 60 on the same course last year that gave him the first-round tournament lead. The 10-stroke difference came down to little things according to Lefty.

“I actually had a good fun day today. I didn’t score as well as I could have or wanted to, but I really had a good day … maybe a little bit rusty, but it was a good first day,” said Mickelson, who finished last year’s tournament at 25-under and one shot behind first-time PGA…

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