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With new caddies, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day get their mojo back at BMW Championship

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Golf

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Phil Mickelson pounded a drive onto the 18th fairway at Conway Farms and then had almost enough time before his second shot to fly home for one of his kids' graduations.

Sergio Garcia, who drove it 15 yards shy of Mickelson, laid up on the 585-yard hole. That left Mickelson and Charles Howell III to wait ... and wait ... and wait while the threesome of Bryson DeChambeau, Charl Schwartzel and Si Woo Kim got fully acquainted with the 18th green.

The long wait, Mickelson said, "doesn't help because it takes you out of your rhythm and lets you overthink."

But in this case, there was no deep thinking. Although Mickelson had 279 yards to the flag -- into a breeze, over a stream -- he pulled out the 3-wood.

Any thoughts of laying up?

"Seriously?" he replied.

That's our Phil.

"I had 260 to the front and I fly my 3-wood 275," he said. "I wasn't concerned about the carry."

Mickelson got up and down for birdie from a downhill lie in the bunker left of the green to complete a nifty first round in Lake Forest -- 5-under 66, no bogeys. He's in the thick of it at the BMW Championship, the third of four FedEx Cup playoff events.

Mickelson, Jason Day (64), Charley Hoffman (64), Jamie Lovemark (64), Keegan Bradley (65), Jordan Spieth (65) and Rickie Fowler (65) are among those chasing Marc Leishman, the beefy Australian who made 10 birdies en route to a 9-under 62 on a gorgeous, 75-degree day on Chicago's North Shore.

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