Phil Mickelson missed a chance to become the sixth golfer to take 59 strokes in an official U.S. PGA Tour event when a 25-foot birdie putt on his final hole caught the lip of the cup and spun out.
Mickelson, 42, had 11 birdies in an 11-under-par round of 60 that matched the Phoenix Open course record at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course. He also had a 60 at the course in winning the tournament in 2005.
Mickelson, who started play on the 10th hole, was 10 under through 13 holes before pars on four of his final five holes. His 18-foot birdie putt at the par-4 eighth hole stopped an inch short of the cup before his attempt at matching the record caught the lip on the right side of the ninth hole, spun around the back and stayed out.
“You don’t get chances to shoot 59 very often and to have that putt on line, I’m kind of mortified that didn’t go in,” Mickelson said in a televised interview. “I couldn’t envision which side it was going to miss on when it was a foot out. It looked like it was right in the middle and didn’t go in.”
Mickelson started walking with his putter pointed toward the hole. When it lipped out, he put his hand to his head in disbelief before breaking out in a smile. Mickelson’s caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, dropped to his hands and knees on the green.
“Somehow it moved at the end low,” said Mickelson, who holds a four-shot lead. “Even at that pace, you think it’s going to lip in. That’s tough to take, but I’m ecstatic with 60, don’t get me wrong.”
Stuart Appleby was the most recent player to shoot a 59 on the PGA Tour, during the final round of the 2010 Greenbrier Classic. Paul Goydos, David Duval, Chip Beck and Al Geiberger are the only other golfers with 59s in an official PGA Tour round. Bo Van Pelt shot a 59 during the Phoenix Open Pro-Am two days ago.
It was the 27th time a player scored 60 on the PGA Tour. Of the 25 golfers who have achieved the feat, only Mickelson and Zach Johnson have done it twice.
Mickelson shot a 59 during the 2004 Grand Slam of Golf, an unofficial event that features the four major championship winners. In that round, the four-time major champion missed an eagle putt on the 18th hole that would have given him a 58.
Mickelson birdied six of his final seven holes the previous time he shot 60 at the 2005 Phoenix Open. Mark Calcavecchia (2001) and Grant Waite (1996) also shot rounds of 60 at the tournament at TPC Scottsdale.
Mickelson failed to break 70 in tying for 51st place at the Farmers Insurance Open last week at Torrey Pines near San Diego. He opened his round yesterday with four straight birdies and birdied eight of his first 10 holes.
Frost delayed the start of the tournament for the third straight year, leaving 33 players needing to complete their opening round today.