PHIL MICKELSON flirted with the magical 59 figure in the first round of the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale when his birdie attempt on the final hole did a 180 and lipped out.
Most, including Mickelson himself and long-time caddie Bones Mackay, thought he had nailed the 26 footer to join the elite group of just five players in the US PGA Tour’s history to achieve the feat.
“It was a fun day, and I’m excited to shoot 60,” said Mickelson, who holds a four-shot overnight lead. “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 followed the putt with his putter in the air, ready to celebrate, clutching his head in disbelieve when it horseshoed out, while Bones sunk to his knees in exasperation.
“I’d say that’s his kind of mode,” the caddie said. “He enjoys it. If it ends up not working out for him, he’s going to go down giving you everything he’s got if you know what I mean. … He’s comfortable, he likes that kind of stage, and he’s not scared.”
Mickelson has now shot 11 under twice at TPC Scottsdale, and he and Zach Johnson are the only PGA TOUR players to ever shoot 60 or better more than once during their careers.
“I was ecstatic (in 2005), and I’m ecstatic to shoot 60 (today),” Mickelson said. “But there’s a big difference between 60 and 59. Not that big between 60 and 61, there really isn’t. But there’s a big barrier, a Berlin Wall barrier, between 59 and 60.”
Mickelson, who started on the 10th, had seven birdies in his front nine (opening with four on the trot) and 4 on the back. He missed birdie chances on his last two holes.