Mickelson after shooting a 72: 'I played terrible'

Phil Mickelson knows his window for winning major championships is shrinking, and with the season's first major next week at Augusta National, he wasn't pleased with his play after Thursday's round at the Houston Open.

“I played terrible,” the four-time major winner told after his first-round 72. “Unfortunately I put myself back quite a bit, but I’ve been playing well, so I’m looking forward to getting out here tomorrow and see if I can get back in it.”

Mickelson found just five of 14 fairways, hit 12 greens, made three birdies, and three bogeys to sit eight back of leader Rickie Fowler.

“I was just a little bit off. I didn’t hit my irons close, I didn’t make a lot of great putts. I did make some to keep it at even. Hit a few in the hazard. I wasn’t quite sharp today, but I’ve been playing well so I’m hopeful to come out tomorrow and shoot a low one and get back in it.”

Mickelson hasn't won a PGA Tour event since the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield, and believes the conditions at the Golf Club of Houston will help him prepare best to try to claim his fourth green jacket.

“I think playing here really helps me, helps me to get sharp so that I don’t have a day like this next Thursday. I get focused and dialed in a lot easier when I only have three days in between tournament rounds rather than 10 days or more. I like playing the week before.”

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