SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Phil Mickelson had a perfect view of his birdie putt for a 59 that curled 180 degrees and stayed out in the first round of the Phoenix Open.
He missed the fateful last bounce of the shot that robbed him of another chance at history Friday in the second round.
“I still thought it was up,” Mickelson said.
His final drive tumbled into the water, and he made a double bogey that left him 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.
“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 followed his opening 60 with a 65 to reach 17-under 125, a mark that matched the Phoenix Open 36-hole record set by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001.
“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.”
His drive on No. 18 bounced into the left-side water hazard and, after a penalty drop, he still had a chance to get up and down for par and the record. But he didn’t get enough on his approach shot, with the ball landing on the green and rolling off the front edge. His chip got away from him a bit, running 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.”
“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.”
Mickelson, the winner at TPC Scottsdale in 1996 and 2005, parred the first six holes and played the next 11 in 8 under before the lapse on 18.