Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Sports

Mickelson leads, just not with record

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Phil Mickelson made a mess of his final hole in the second round of the Phoenix Open, costing him another shot at history.

A day after his putt for 59 curled 180 degrees and stayed out, "Lefty" missed a chance to break the PGA Tour's 36-hole scoring record Friday when he finished with double bogey.

"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 65 to reach 17-under 125, 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.

"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."

His drive on No. 18 bounced into the left-side water hazard and, after a penalty drop, he didn't get enough on his approach; the ball landed on the green and rolled off the front edge. His chip ran 7 feet past, and his bogey putt slid by to the left.

That left him four strokes ahead of Bill Haas, who shot 64, and five in front of Keegan Bradley (63) and Brandt Snedeker (66).

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.

The 42-year-old former Arizona State star made a 4-foot birdie on the par-4 ninth — the hole where he missed the putt for 59 on Thursday — and overpowered the par-5 15th for eagle, hitting to 4 feet after a 358-yard drive.

Bradley also eagled the 15th, hitting a 350-yard drive and a 7-iron approach to 8 feet, then birdied No. 16 in front of the noisy fans gathered on the "stadium hole."

"It reminds me of when I go to Fenway Park," Bradley said. "There's always like a murmur. … It's really cool. I dig it. I wish there was more holes like that out here."

RICH TOURNEY OFF: The South African tournament claiming to be among the richest outside the United States was indefinitely postponed. It was scheduled for November in Port Elizabeth with a purse of $8.5 million, but it failed to secure sponsorship.

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