Phil On Phire In Phoenix

Phil Mickelson takes a 4-shot lead into the Weekend at the Waste Management Phoenix Open

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the biggest party on the PGA TOUR. No one has had more reason to party this week than Phil Mickelson. The four-time major champion fired a 60 in round 1, his putt for 59 cruelly lipped-out on the 9th, his final hole. Check out the video…everytime I watch it I think the ball is going in…

Watch it again. See Phil’s caddie “Bones” Mackay’s reaction at the 1:25 mark.

As Phil said after his round, there is not much difference between a 61 and a 60, but there is a “Berlin Wall” of difference between a 59 and a 60. It was Mickelson’s second 60 at TPC Scottsdale, he shot a 60 in 2005 and went on to win the tournament. Phil also gave some nice publicity to his equipment sponsor, Callaway, after the round. He switched to the new Callaway RAZR Fit Extreme this week and drove it beautifully in the first round. Here are Phil’s thoughts on his “59 1/2″…

It can be difficult to back up a super-low round like Phil’s, and more often than not, players are unable to recreate their previous days’ success. Mickelson had no problem following his 60. After six straight pars to start the round Phil played the next 11 holes in 8-under par. Then came the 18th hole. Phil was 19-under, 6 shots up on Bill Haas and needing a par to break the PGA TOUR 36 hole scoring record with a total of 123. Phil pulled his 3 wood, probably trying to take the right-side bunkers out of play, but not being able to carry the water on the left. Phil’s tee shot landed inches from the hazard line and trickled into the water. After taking a drop, Mickelson’s third landed well short of the flag and spun back off the green. Needing to hole his chip to break the scoring record, Phil raced his ball about 6 feet past. His bogey putt missed and Phil took double-bogey on the 18th for a 65.

This was a classic case of Phil being Phil. Remember the miraculous 6-iron from the trees on the 13th hole in the final round of the 2010 Masters? Well, Phil missed the 6 foot eagle putt then. A par at the 18th Friday would not only have given Mickelson the 36 hole record but would have given him somewhere between a 5 and 7 shot lead after 2 rounds. His lead is now 4 shots over Haas with Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker lurking 5 shots back. All that said, I see Phil holding on to win this week. Phoenix is a second home to Mickelson, he attended college at nearby Arizona State. Think of the scene at TPC Scottsdale’s famous 16th hole if Phil comes in Sunday needing to to hold on for a win. CRA-ZEEEEE.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open will air on Golf Channel Saturday and Sunday from 1:00-3:00 and on NBC from 3:00-6:00.

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