Mickelson among field in Texas Open for first time in 22 years

World No 5 and two-time winner Zach Johnson among big names in first of two Masters tune-up events in the Lone Star State

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 11:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 11:01am

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Two-time winner Zach Johnson and five-time major winner Phil Mickelson headline the field for the Texas Open, one of the final tune-ups before the 2014 Masters tournament.

Mickelson is returning for the first time in 22 years to the event which kicks off the first of two PGA Tour tournaments in Texas ahead of the Masters, which begins on April 10.

World No 5 Mickelson is seeking his first top 10 finish in seven tournaments this season.

I want to have competitive rounds and work on playing proper golf and managing the game and the rounds. This is a great opportunity to build some momentum going into Augusta.
Phil Mickelson

“I haven’t had the success I’ve wanted to early on this season, and I want to get in contention,” said Mickelson, who finished 47th the last time he played this event. “I want to have competitive rounds and work on playing proper golf and managing the game and the rounds. This is a great opportunity to build some momentum going into Augusta.”

The strong field also includes both of this season’s multiple winners, three-time winner Jimmy Walker and two-time champ Patrick Reed.

Also teeing up are American Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els, of South Africa, Canada’s Mike Weir, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Aussies Aaron Baddeley, Robert Allenby and John Senden.

Martin Laird fired a nine-under 63 in the final round last year to come from behind and win the event.

His 63 matched the course record and it marked his third title on the USPGA Tour. With the victory, Laird also earned a spot in the Masters, where he missed the cut by a shot.

Laird will tee off today in a threesome that also includes Mickelson and Texas native Jordan Spieth.

Senden, Johnson and Jim Furyk are in another marquee group. This is Johnson’s first appearance at the event in four years, while Furyk finished in third in 2013.

Els is grouped with Walker and Justin Leonard.

The Tour heads to the Houston Open next week, which serves as the final event before the players head to Augusta. DA Points closed with a 66 last year to rally and win the title by one over Henrik Stenson and Billy Horschel.