Phil Mickelson Came This Close to Shooting 59 at the Phoenix Open (Video)
Phil Mickelson has been under plenty of scrutiny over the past couple of weeks after he publicly complained about the high tax rate he pays as a multi-millionaire in the state of California. He has since apologized for his remarks, stating, “Finances and taxes are a personal matter and I should not have made my opinions on them public.”
On Thursday at the Phoenix Open, he was able to put that all behind him en route to one of the greatest rounds of golf he’s ever shot. In fact, it was one of the greatest rounds ever shot in PGA Tour history.
The record for the lowest 18-round score in a PGA Tour event is 59. It has happened on five separate occasions: Al Geiberger, 1977 Memphis Classic; Chip Beck, 1991 Las Vegas Invitational; David Duval, 1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic; Paul Goydos, 2010 John Deere Classic; and Stuart Appleby, 2010 Greenbrier Classic.
Yesterday, Phil Mickelson came within a hair of becoming the sixth member of the “59 Club.”
Lefty opened yesterday’s round with four consecutive birdies. He would go on to birdie eight of his first ten holes, and ten of his first 13. And on the 18th hole of his round, he walked onto the green with a chance to sink a birdie putt and cap off a historic, record-tying round.
Here’s what happened:
That unfortunate lip-out left Mickelson with a first round score of 60, equaling his previous best, which he also shot at the Phoenix Open in 2005.
When asked about the putt, Mickelson had the following to say:
“Six feet to go, it was in the center. 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.”
Despite coming up just short of etching his name in the record books, Mickelson still held a four-shot lead over Ryan Palmer, Brandt Snedeker, Padraig Harrington, Ted Potter Jr. and Jeff Maggert after the first day. If he holds on to his first-round lead and wins the Phoenix Open, it would be his first PGA Tour victory since he won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February 2012.
It would also earn him a hefty $1,000,000-plus prize, although I’m sure he won’t be happy about having to give a chunk of it back to the government in taxes.