NORTON, Mass. — Phil Mickelson caused a minor commotion with his pants and his putter.
The Deutsche Bank Champion began Friday with two players on opposite ends of the world ranking – Luke Donald at No. 1 and ex-Georgia Tech star Troy Matteson at No. 207 – having their lowest opening round of the year on the PGA Tour that was important to both of them for different reasons.
Matteson, facing elimination from the FedEx Cup playoffs, overcame a bogey on the first hole for 6-under-par 65 and the outright lead after the first round. Donald, struggling of late to get off to a good start, had 66 and was among those one shot behind.
Through it all, Mickelson brought attention to himself for two items that looked out of place.
The day after he took batting practice at Fenway Park and wore a Red Sox jersey while throwing out the first pitch before the Yankees’ 4-2 win, Mickelson wore pinstripes at the TPC Boston.
“Lost a wager with a friend and had to wear these today,” Mickelson said. “What can you say? I’ve got to suck it up and bear it.”
Stranger still was the sight of Mickelson sticking the grip of a long putter into his gut.
Mickelson became the latest to try a belly putter, and while he still missed his share of putts in a round of 70, he sounded as though he was willing to stick with it – at least for the rest of the week.
“I thought it went well,” said Mickelson, who opened with back-to-back birdie putts of just inside 10 feet. “I feel that I’m probably putting better with that putter than I would be the short putter, so I’ll end up using it for the rest of the tournament I would anticipate. “
Matteson is No. 97 in the FedEx Cup standings. The top 70 advance to the third event outside Chicago.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Crans-Sur-Sierre, Switzerland, Rory McIlroy shot 2-under-par 69 to share the lead after the second round of the European Masters.
The U.S. Open winner, who had an eagle 2 and a double-bogey 7, is at 8-under through 36 holes along with Englishmen Gary Boyd, Simon Dyson and Jamie Donaldson, of Wales.
Golfers one shot off the lead are Nick Dougherty, of England; Martin Kaymer, of Germany; Jaco van Zyl, of South Africa; Fabrizio Zanotti, of Paraguay; and Danny Willett ,of England.
Former Augusta State golfers Oliver Wilson and Scott Jamieson missed the cut, which fell at 140. Wilson shot 72-69–141 and Jamieson had 75-79–154.
NATIONWIDE TOUR: In Canonsburg, Pa., Aiken’s Kevin Kisner shot 9-under-par 62 – highlighted by two eagles – to take the lead in the Mylan Classic.
Kisner, who opened with 67, is at 13-under 129 at Southpointe Golf Club. He had five birdies to go with the two eagles on Friday.
Gary Christian (63 on Friday) is two shots off the pace.
North Augusta’s Scott Brown is tied for third, three shots off the lead at 132, after shooting 64.
Aiken native Matt Hendrix (66) is at 137.
David Robinson, of Sandersville, Ga., is at 139 after a second-round 68.