Mickelson enjoys his Champions Tour debut, holds first round lead

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HOLLISTER, Mo–PGA Tour Champions teed off the second half of it’s Ozarks mountain tour Monday.

Last week the Champions Tour played Buffalo Ridge.

Monday they started a three day tournament at Ozarks National.

As KOLR 10’s Dan Lindblad reports, they had a special rookie in the field.

Day one of the second tournament in the Charles Schwab Series in the books.

Ozarks National the setting with the feature golfer being a newcomer to this tour who has won five majors and loves to hit bombs.

And with that Phil Mickelson was off trying to become the second golfer this season to win his Tour Champions debut.

Wouldn’t wait to put up a low number.

He birdies the first hole to move to one under par.

After driving the green on 3, he’s putting for eagle and asking for it…

But it’s short he would add another birdie

He adds another on four and five to move to 4-under through the first five holes

” I was nervous. I wanted to get out and play well. I was able to get a pretty good start, I birdied five of the first seven and I felt like I was getting in a groove,” said Mickelson.

His first trouble came on 9, his approach shot well right and onto the 16th fairway. He’d chip it onto the green, but that’s his first bogey of the day.

“You have to be very strategic off the tee, pick the right clubs and hit to the wide part of the fairway. If not, you are going to lose golf balls. I did a decent job of that, I hit one ball in the thick stuff and was able to find it, but unfortunately it was my only bogey there on 9,” said Mickelson.

Then Mickelson turned it on the back 9, with a string of 5 straight birdies, including this one on 16 to get him to 9 under and tie of the lead. And one on 17 to give him the solo lead at 10 under.

“It’s fun to play well, but we have a lot of golf left. I’m excited for the competition, I feel like I have been playing well at home, but it’s another thing taking it out on the road. I’m fortunate to be able to play in this event because it worked out perfectly, timing wise and it allows me to compete while I feel like I’m playing well,” said Mickelson.

A par on 18 caps off what was an enjoyable 10-under 61.

“It’s fun for me to come out here and know everybody. Whereas on the regular tour, half the guys I’m like who? They are young, up and coming from the Korn Ferry Tour and I don’t know who they are, it’s like wow this guy can play, who is it? Here I know who everybody is, it’s really fun for me to get out here,” said Mickelson.

Mickelson will tee off in the final group tomorrow.

And will try to duplicate the success he saw on the course in round one.

At Ozarks National, Dan Lindblad Ozarks First

Here’s a look at the leaderboard after the first round.

There’s Phil Mickelson with a one stroke lead on Australia’s David McKenzie.

Then a group two back including Tim Petrovic, Rod Pampling, K.J. Choi and Rocco Mediate.

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