Phil Mickelson was 25 feet and five inches away from shooting a course record 59 at the TPC Scottsdale’s number nine hole to finish round one of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
“Six feet to go, it was in the center, three feet to go it was in the center, a foot to go it was in the center, and even as it’s approaching the hole, I couldn’t envision which side of the hole it could possibly miss on,” explained Mickelson after round one on Thursday. “It ended up somehow just dying off at the end, catching the lip. At that speed to lip out as much as it did is very rare.”
In the grand scheme, Mickelson couldn’t ask for a better way to start the Open. Sitting atop the leader board at 11-under is spectacular. Mickelson acknowledged he is happy about the start, but he is going to be thinking about that putt on nine to close out his day for a long time.
“It was a fun day, and I’m excited to shoot 60,” Mickelson mentioned. “But to see that last putt lip out the way it did and not go in, it’s crushing because you don’t get that chance very often to shoot 59.”
Mickelson bursted out of the gates birdieing 10, 11, 12 and 13 to start the day. Shooting 59 was on his radar as he made the turn to the back nine.
“For the whole back nine, I’m thinking lets go,” said Mickelson. “I made that putt on one, I’m thinking it. I hit a shot on two that had action, it went a little long but made a good par. But I birdied three and four, done deal I’m going to get this done.”
However he would birdie one of the last five holes and game up one stroke short of the record.
Mickelson has shot 60 at the Open before which was back in 2005. However, he noted that the 60 back then was different and 59 wasn’t on his radar. Explaining how he had to birdie the last three or four holes in order to reach that mark. This 60 had a different feel to it.
“I was ecstatic, and I’m ecstatic to shoot 60,” Mickelson said. “But there is a big difference between 60 and 59. Not that big between 60 and 61, there really isn’t. But there’s a Berlin Wall barrier, between 59 and 60.”
In all years Mickelson has played here in the valley for the Open and on the PGA Tour in general he has had many high points and many frustrating points. When looking back, Mickelson found it hard to think of a shot that hurt more then the one missed Thursday.
“Not like that one, no” he stated. “That one was, that was heartbreaking”
Mickelson has always raved about the TPC Scottsdale mentioning that he loves how the course is risk reward and how it fits his game. The risk was well worth it for round one. Now the test will be for him to maintain this momentum for three more days.