Mickelson debuts with a 76
In his PGA Tour bio, James Nitties lists his special interests as "clubbing, girls, movies."
He's come to the right place.
Nitties shot a 6-under-par 65 yesterday for a share of the first-round lead with Lucas Glover in the FBR Open at TPC Scottsdale, renowned as the most partying stop on Tour.
The opening round was no party for local favorite Phil Mickelson, tied for 121st after shooting a 5-over 76 in his first round of the year.
Play was called because of darkness with nine players on the course.
While Mickelson searched for answers, Nitties was reveling in the FBR Open's anything-goes atmosphere.
"This is one of the events I was looking forward to the most," said Nitties, a 26-year-old Australian. "If you knew me, it's tough for me to concentrate out here. But on the flip side, I'm on the PGA Tour and I'm not going to take it for granted, so I know when to put my partying on hold, and I know when to put in hard work. Yeah, there's some good sights out there."
There were also some bad sights - such as Mickelson digging his drives out of cacti on the 11th and 13th holes.
Mickelson finished with as many double bogeys (2) as birdies, and he had three bogeys. Only six players posted higher scores on a breezy, sunny day.
Mickelson usually fares well at TPC Scottsdale, winning in 1996 and 2005 and losing in a playoff last year. This was his season debut, but the former Arizona State star said he wasn't rusty and thought his swing was in good shape.
"It doesn't feel as far off as the score indicates," Mickelson said. "I know the score is ridiculous. But it doesn't feel bad."
European - Northern Ireland teenager Rory McIlroy shot an 8-under 64 to take the clubhouse lead in the first round of the fog-delayed Dubai Desert Classic.