Wednesday, April 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Mickelson misses chance for tour 36-hole record, still leads PGA tourney

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 a 59 curled 180 degrees and stay out, Lefty missed a chance to break the PGA Tour’s 36-hole scoring record Friday when he finished with a 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 a 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. 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 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, leaving him with a share of the Phoenix Open 36-hole record set by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001.

“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.”

The double bogey left him four strokes ahead of Bill Haas and five in front of Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker. Haas shot a 64, Bradley 63, and Snedeker 66.

Mickelson will play alongside Haas and Bradley in the third round.

“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.

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

“I felt really comfortable on the tee box, so I kind of let one go and caught a hold of it and ended up having 191 to the pin,” Mickelson said. “It was only 186 to the front, and I hit a hard 8-iron. There was a little bit of helping wind.”

After a par on the par-3 16th that drew boos from the rowdy fans on the stadium hole when his tee shot trickled into the fringe, he drove the green on the 344-yard 17th and two-putted from 70 feet — leaving his eagle try a foot short — for birdie.

Bradley also eagled the 15th, hitting a 350-yard drive and a 7-iron approach to 8 feet.

“I just smashed a driver down there,” Bradley said. “I had been hitting 3-wood and I’m driving the ball so well that I just decided to rip driver down there.”

He birdied the 16th, hitting to 5 feet.

“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.”

He birdied Nos. 5-8 on his back nine, holing putts of 10 15, 20 and 8 feet.

“It was such a relief to shoot a good number,” Bradley said. “I’ve been playing so well this whole year and haven’t made many putts. Today, the putts started to go in.”

Haas began play on No. 10 and made the turn at 6-under 30.

“We all know the way the course is playing, if there’s no wind on the weekend, you’ve just got to keep making birdies,” Haas said.

Last year in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera, Haas beat Mickelson and Bradley with a 45-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff.

“It’s just another day. It’s moving day,” Haas said. “Hopefully, I can move up the leaderboard and he (Mickelson) doesn’t go too crazy.”

DIVOTS: Jason Dufner, paired with Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, missed the cut by a stroke to end the tour’s longest active streak at 22. Dufner shot 68-71, leaving Ian Poulter with the longest current streak at 16. Fowler also shot 68-71 to drop out. … Mike Weir failed to advance a week after ending a streak of 17 missed cuts that dated to July 2001. He shot 69-73. … Golf Channel will have “spotlight” coverage” of the 15th, 16th and 17th holes Saturday and Sunday, opposite the first two hours of NBC’s regular broadcast. The sister networks will stagger commercial breaks. … Masters champion Bubba Watson was 8 under after his second straight 67. He played through strep throat to tie for fourth in the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, and withdrew last week in San Diego because of the flu. … Defending champion Kyle Stanley shot a 71 to make the cut by a stroke at 4 under.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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