NORTON — Even when Phil Mickelson appears to be at his worst off the tee, he can save his round with a remarkable short game.
Two early birdies had the first-round co-leader near the top, but Mickelson followed that with wildness — he missed four straight fairways, none close. He made two bogeys, then a double at the par-3 16th when his tee shot bounced back into the hazard.
Two closing birdies somehow let Mickelson sign for an even-par 71. It was hard to tell which round gave him more pride.
“That was one of my best numbers right there, because I was playing terrible. Sometimes when you lose it, I could have easily shot myself out of the tournament,” Mickelson said. “I fought hard and was able to find it there in the end to give me confidence into the weekend. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.