- The Washington Times - Friday, June 10, 2005

Phil Mickelson had chances throughout yesterday’s first round to make a move up a leader board not cluttered by the biggest names at the Booz Allen Classic.

Instead, Lefty had a relatively uneventful day, turning in an even-par 71 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda.

‘I think the birdie holes I had I didn’t capitalize on,’ Mickelson said. ‘There were two par-5s I could reach, and I wound up making par on those holes. I hit a couple wedge shots close, and I didn’t make the putt. I had a couple of wedge shots that I could hit close, but I just didn’t execute. It was just a day where I felt I played well enough [for] 4, 5, 6 under and I shot even.’

Mickelson recorded a birdie at the first hole before a run of eight straight pars. He fell back to even with a bogey at No. 10, then parred the last eight holes.

The fourth-ranked player in the world is eight shots behind leader Matt Gogel. That deficit doesn’t bother Mickelson, who will play his second round this morning.

?It’s all right,? Mickelson said. ‘We have three rounds left, and I feel like I’m playing pretty well, and I feel like there’s a low round in me. It only takes one low round to get right back in it.?

Taking the heat

Defending Booz Allen champ Adam Scott turned in one of the afternoon’s more impressive rounds, carding a 68 to finish the day five shots off the pace.

Scott, who finished just before play was halted for the day, opened with a double bogey at No. 10 and later fell to 3 over. However, he had six birdies in his last 11 holes, including his final three, to get to 3 under.

Like many players, Scott was affected a bit by the oppressive heat.

?Hopefully, there’s some cloud cover in the morning and it stays cool,? Scott said. ?It’s extreme out there. It’s a tough course, and the temperature doesn’t make it any easier out there.?

Allen in the hunt

Veteran Michael Allen took an unusual route toward the top of the field, thriving on the most difficult holes to finish the first round within four shots of the lead.

The 46-year-old birdied Nos. 10 and 13 ? the day’s toughest two holes ? en route to a 4-under 67.

?If you hit it in the fairway, you can shoot a [low] score because the greens are so soft out here,? said Allen, who chipped in from just off the green at the 10th. ?As severe as they are, for it being that soft you can play the shots where you really need to be able to play the golf course.?

Allen, who never has won on tour, had his season best in April when he tied for 10th at Hilton Head. Yesterday was his best round since a 64 in the first round at Tucson in February.

?It’s nice to be in the tournament from the start,? Allen said. ?When you have a decent round to start, at least you feel you’re competitive. Hopefully, I can feel that way all week.?

Sleepy Swede

Fredrik Jacobson had one thing in mind after firing a 66: getting some rest.

?I’ve been up at 5 for the last four days, so I’m looking forward to a later [start],? Jacobson said.

He has that today after a solid morning round. The Swede, who won three times on the European Tour in 2003 and has finished in the top 20 the last three weeks, played the back nine at even par before ripping five birdies in six holes to reach 5 under as he seeks his first victory on American soil.

Chip shots

Kevin Stadler had the best score of the 42 players who remained on the course when play was suspended. Stadler, who was at 5 under through 14 holes, is the son of Champions Tour regular Craig Stadler. The elder Stadler won the Booz Allen at Congressional in 1981 and 1982. …

Other notables still on the course were Ernie Els (2 under through 17), Sergio Garcia (even through 17) and Chris DiMarco (2 over through 17). … Pat Perez withdrew after shooting 74, while Andre Stolz withdrew after nine holes because of an injury.

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