Mickelson makes Augusta experience count


Phil Mickelson revelled in a return to familiar territory as he shot a one-under-par 71 on the opening day at the Masters and then declared: "I love it around here".

The three-time Masters champion made light of windy conditions on his 25th appearance at the iconic major, citing his intimate knowledge of the Augusta course as key to his productive first round.

Mickelson, 46, faces a six-shot gap to clubhouse leader Charley Hoffman, who was one over through five but turned on the style thereafter to card a stunning 65.

Yet, clearly content with his day's work, Mickelson said: "I love it around here, especially because the wind is going to magnify your misses.

"A lot of the guys that aren't familiar with this course and where you can go to on certain holes for certain pins will miss in the wrong spot and end up making big numbers. And because I played here so many times and just kind of know where to go. 

"I might miss it big, but I'll miss it in the right spot and I'll have a good chance to salvage par."

Mickelson's scorecard featured an eagle at the par-five second hole and he reached three under through four, before requiring a birdie at 16 to break par.

He added: "To make a putt on two for eagle and get the round started like that was exciting. But I knew that there were still a lot of tough holes left out there and just trying to make pars was kind of the goal. And then take advantage of some of the par-fives."