SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. (AP) - Phil Mickelson missed out on a 59 by a fraction of an inch Thursday in the first round of the Phoenix Open.
Mickelson had a chance to become the sixth player in PGA Tour history to break 60 with a 25-foot birdie attempt on his last hole, the par-4 ninth at TPC Scottsdale. The putt looked good all the way, and Mickelson pointed his putter at the cup as he prepared to celebrate.
Right at the end, though, the ball caught the right edge of the cup, curled 180 degrees to the other side of the hole and stayed out.
“Six feet to go, it was in the center,” Mickelson said. “Three feet to go, it was in the center. A foot to go, it was in the center, and even as it’s approaching the hole, I couldn’t envision which side of the hole it could possibly miss on, and it ended up somehow just dying off at the end, catching the lip. At that speed, to lip out as much as it did is very rare.
“I’m excited to shoot 60, but to see that last putt lip out the way it did and not go in, it’s crushing because you don’t get that chance very often to shoot 59.”
His caddie, Jim Mackay, fell to his knees and stayed there several seconds.
“He could not have hit a better putt,” Mackay said.
“Unlucky. He was walking it in,” Dufner said.
“I thought it was in,” Fowler said. “I was pulling for him, trying to stay out of his way.”
Mickelson settled for an 11-under 60, matching the tournament record he already shared with Grant Waite and Mark Calcavecchia.
“Well, 60 is awesome,” Mickelson said. “Last time I shot 60 here in `05, I birdied like the last three or four holes just to do that, and I was ecstatic, and I’m ecstatic to shoot 60. But there’s a big difference between 60 and 59. Not that big between 60 and 61, there really isn’t. But there’s a big barrier, a Berlin Wall barrier, between 59 and 60.
“I shot it in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. I shot 58 in a practice round. But to do it in a tournament would have been historic for me, something I’d always remember, and I’ll always remember that putt on the last hole probably, too.”
He also parred the par-4 eighth _ leaving an 18-footer a rotation short _ after reaching 11 under with a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-3 seventh.
“That putt is so fast down to that right pin because it’s going toward the valley, it’s downhill and down grain,” Mickelson said. “I thought, I can’t leave it short, so I just got it right on line and it was tracking and it pulled up short.”