ATLANTA — No pretty way to say it, Phil Mickelson seemed lost on the greens.
He took 34 putts in the first round Thursday, last in the field, tied with Tiger Woods. Mickelson was lipping out all over East Lake. He missed a 3-footer for birdie on No. 2, a 5-foot par putt on No. 4 and putts inside 4 feet for par on No. 5 and a birdie on No. 15.
Lefty’s 71 was his worst Tour Championship first round since 2009.
Sergio uninspired: Sergio Garcia was less than swept away by the atmosphere at East Lake.
His first comments afterward concerned a perceived lack of excitement on the other side of the ropes Thursday.
Sounding more like someone who shot 78 rather than 68, Garcia said afterward, “I’d love to feel a little bit different out there on the course. You know, I’d love to feel a little bit more energy, probably what this tournament deserves.
“But unfortunately I had to play where I had to play, and it’s kind of dragging on a little bit.”
His twosome was occasionally, “Boo-oooed,” but it had nothing to do with Garcia’s past intemperate comments about Woods. He was paired with Boo Weekley.
Rookie revenge: Billy Horschel, at 3 under, was one of the eight players making their first appearance in the Tour Championship. Many are making sizable splashes.
There is a first-timer, Henrik Stenson, at the top of the leaderboard. Combined, the eight rookies shot 19 under Thursday. Only D.A. Points (72) was over par.
“My game’s in a good spot,” Horschel said. “I may have not played the way I would have liked the last couple of months, but I’ve been seeing some good signs the last few weeks.”
Scott’s surge: Masters champion Adam Scott did his damage on the back nine, making six birdies in seven holes for a 29 that had him tied for the lead until Stenson finished with a 5-iron from 223 yards to 4 feet for birdie on the losing hole.
“It was a tale of two nines, there’s no doubt,” Scott said. “I missed three greens with wedges on the front nine and wasted all my chances to score. I hit two good shots into 10 and rolled a putt in, which calmed me down. And then I just went and played, and played the way I felt I could.”