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Phil Mickelson makes cut in Texas Open

March 29, 2014

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Phil Mickelson made the cut on the number in the Texas Open on Friday, blasting out of a greenside water hazard to 5 feet to set up a birdie on the final hole.

Mickelson shot a 2-under 70 after opening with a 77 — his worst score of the season — on TPC San Antonio’s AT&T Oaks Course. Lefty was 11 strokes behind leader Steven Bowditch, the Australian who had a 67 to reach 8-under 136.

Bowditch, ranked 339th in the world, holed out from 83 yards for an eagle on the par-4 12th. The 30-year-old topped the leaderboard at the end of a round for the first time in his PGA Tour career.

“My wedge shots have been pretty good,” he said. “I was trying to hit (the one on No. 12) a little past the pin and hope it came back to a reasonable distance. Got lucky.”

Chad Collins (66) and rookie Andrew Loupe (70) were a stroke back.

Only two of the top 15 players on the leaderboard are in the top 100 of the world rankings. Sixth-place Kevin Na is 78th in the world and ninth-place Zach Johnson is 10th.

Collins is 315th and Loupe 505th.

No. 5-ranked Mickelson was in the stream that runs in front of the 18th green after attempting to reach the par 5 in two from 288 yards with a 3-wood. He pulled off his left shoe and rolled up that pants leg and gave it a shot with his foot in the water.

“I needed to make a birdie to have a chance at playing tomorrow,” he said. “Fortunately, barely went in, and it looked like the water overlapped the grass. It was not that hard of a shot.”

Mickelson has struggled this year and entered the Texas Open for the first time in 22 years to put his game under competitive conditions as a preparation for the Masters in two weeks.

“It’s important that I get more mentally into the round like I did today,” Mickelson said. “Yesterday, I was very sloppy. I like the way I’m driving the ball. My speed is back. My back feels great. My body feels great, and I’m able to hit the ball hard again.”

Ernie Els shot a 74 and did not make the cut.

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