Phil Mickelson’s first round at the Waste Management Phoenix Open ended with an 11 under par 60. He never looked back from there. “Lefty” lead the golf tournament wire-to-wire and there were several near-recording setting performances over the four days. He almost reached the coveted score of 59 on Thursday. A double bogey on the 18th on Friday put him one shot short of the 36-hole scoring record. He was one shot off of the record score after 54 holes on Saturday. His final score of 28 under par – 256 was just two shots shy of tying the lowest aggregate score in a 72-hole tournament, which currently sits at 254.
Mickelson was in the top five (if not ranked first) all week in greens in regulation and putting average. It’s hard not to succeed when you hit almost 90% of the greens in regulation and average just over one and a half putts per hole. He also played the par 3′s in nine under par over the four days. Mickelson only recorded one bogey and one double bogey over the entire 72-hole tournament.
The final leader board looks closer than it actually was. Heading into the 17th tee on Sunday, Mickelson was three strokes clear of Brandt Snedeker who was six under par on the day to that point. Three up with two holes to play in a stroke play event isn’t impossible to overcome, but it’s definitely unlikely, especially considering the way Mickelson was striking the ball and putting. “Lefty” caught a big break on that 17th hole when his tee shot ended up just a few feet shy of going into the water. Surprise, surprise, he converted that for one birdie, too.
This tournament was essentially never in doubt after Mickelson carded a 60 on Thursday. Different golfers gave it their best shot with rounds in the low sixties, but Phil was always in control. He never once looked rattled, even after his double bogey on the 18th on Friday. He knew that he was at the top of his game, and when Mickelson is confident and playing this well, it’s very tough to beat him.
Mickelson came close to a few different records throughout this tournament, but the only one that really matters now is the fact that he recorded his 41st career PGA Tour victory. He will be looking for back-to-back victories next week as he defends his championship at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.