2010 Masters Round One: Phil Mickelson Solidly in the Hunt

John DoublinSenior Writer IApril 8, 2010

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 08:  Phil Mickelson hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during the first round of the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2010 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

"Lefty" is BAAACK!!!!!

Despite a less than stellar start to the 2010 PGA season, arguably the worst start in his career, Phil Mickelson entered the 2010 Masters as one of the favorites to win it all.

In a classy move, Mickelson brought in his wife's doctor to caddy for him on a few holes at this prestigious event. The media attention this decision garnered didn't appear to effect his game one bit.

In the midst of the the hoopla surrounding Tiger Woods, the questions about "Wedge-gate" and the extra attention caused by his choice of caddy, Phil still managed to put together a solid round of golf, finishing with a five under 67 and a share of second place.

Teeing off at 10:35 am EST, along with Robert Allenby and Y.E. Yang—Phil put all the distractions behind him and took to the legendary course in Augusta, Ga. on a quest to grab his third green jacket, and first major since he won the Masters in 2006.

The front nine saw Mickelson earn himself birdies on holes three and eight, a lone bogey on the ninth, and pars on the rest for a score of one under 35 at the turn. One under at the turn isn't exactly spectacular, but it's solid nonetheless.

That one bogey on the ninth was the end of Phil's difficulty on the day.

Business picked up quite a bit for "Lefty" on the back nine. Three pars to start, three pars to finish, a beautiful tee shot and putt to score an Eagle on 13, and birdies on 14 and 15 for a four under back nine score of 32 was good enough to get Mickelson into the clubhouse at a five under 67.

With several heavy hitters still on the course, including Tiger Woods, the California native realizes that he hasn't won anything yet, but it was a great start to the first major tournament of the year.

Being only one stroke off the leader, Fred Couples, in a tie for second with Tom Watson, Lee Westwood, K.J. Choi, and his playing partner Y.E. Yang should give Phil some much needed confidence heading into round two on Friday.

If he can keep the distractions out of his mind and focus on his game, he stands poised to make a run at his first win of the year on the one the biggest stages in golf.