Mickelson sizzles in the desert
LA QUINTA, Calif.
Phil Mickelson still feels as young as ever. He still plays that way, too.
Mickelson began his 27th full season as a pro Thursday by flirting with one of the few feats he hasn’t accomplished — golf’s magic number.
The 48-year-old left-hander still shot a 12-under 60 in the Desert Classic, tying his career-low score he last shot in the Phoenix Open six years ago. It was the most under par he has been in any of the 2,077 rounds he has played on the PGA Tour.
“It was a kind of a lucky day for me in the sense that I did not feel sharp heading in,” Mickelson said. “I haven’t really had the intense practice sessions that I would like, but I felt like all parts were OK and it just clicked. Some days you have those days where it just clicked. And the bad shots that I hit, I got away with. I was able to kind of not have the big score.”
Needing to play the final two holes in 2 under to shoot 59 on the foggy, rainy day at La Quinta Country Club, Mickelson missed a 15-foot birdie try on the par-4 17th before holing a 9-footer for birdie on the par-4 18th.
The Desert Classic is the only PGA Tour event to yield two sub-60 rounds. David Duval had a 59 at PGA West’s Palmer Course when he won in 1999. Adam Hadwin shot 59 at La Quinta in 2017.
Mickelson has a three-stroke lead over Adam Long, the 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie who finished off a 63 in the dark on PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament Course.
The fog-delayed round was Mickelson’s first on tour since early October and the first in competition since beating Tiger Woods in Las Vegas in November.
Australia’s Curtis Luck was third at 64, also playing La Quinta.