Phil Mickelson birdied the ninth hole a day too late and missed a chance to break the PGA Tour’s 36-hole scoring record when he finished with a double bogey after driving into the water.
Mickelson followed his opening 60 with a 65 on Friday in the Phoenix Open to reach 17-under 125, a stroke off the tour record for the first two rounds of a tournament set by Pat Perez in the 2009 Bob Hope Classic and matched by David Toms at Colonial in 2011.
“Unfortunately, I made a double on the last hole and didn’t finish the way I wanted to,” Mickelson said. “But I think it’s a good example of what can happen on this course. You can make a lot of birdies and eagles, make up a lot of ground, but there’s a lot of water and trouble there that if you misstep you can easily make bogeys and double.”
He still tied the Phoenix Open record set by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001, but history slipped through his hands for the second straight day on the last hole.
On Thursday, Mickelson had a 25-foot birdie putt for a 59 on No. 9 that caught the right edge, curled 180 degrees and stayed out. A day later with little at stake on the par-4 hole, he hit to 4 feet and rolled the downhill putt into the center of the cup.
“You always remember kind of the last hole, the last putt,” Mickelson said. “But I think it’s very possible that’s going to help me because it’s got me refocused, that I cannot ease up on a single shot. I’ve got to be really focused.
“These guys are going to make a lot of birdies and I’ve got to get after it and cannot make those kinds of mistakes.”
Mickelson parred the first six holes, and played the next 11 in 8 under before making a mess of the par-4 18th. His drive bounced into the left-side water hazard and, after a penalty drop, he hit an approach that landed on the green and rolled off the front edge. His chip ran 7 feet past and his bogey putt slid by to the left.
“I hit a good shot, I thought,” Mickelson said. “I tried to start it right down the middle and hold it into the wind. It just leaked a little bit left. I still thought it was up. ... Then I hit a poor wedge from there. But the tee shot I didn’t think was going to be in the water at any point.”
The double bogey left him four strokes ahead of Bill Haas and five in front of Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker. Haas shot 64, Bradley 63, and Snedeker 66.
Mickelson will play alongside Haas and Bradley in the third round.
“Bill and I have played on a Presidents Cup team, and Keegan and I have been partners in the Ryder Cup and had an incredibly emotional and fun experience together as partners,” Mickelson said. “We’re going to have a fun day tomorrow.”