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Phil Mickelson’s Miraculous 73

by Jeff Skinner

Carl Pettersson may have the lead at the PGA Championship but Phil Mickelson just possibly could have had the round of the day.  Pettersson’s  bogey free, six under par 66 could be considered a thing of beauty while Phil’s one over 73 would have to be called a downright miracle.

Phil carded four bogeys and three birdies and to look at the scorecard it may seem a bit pedestrian.  But if you saw any of Phil’s round you witnessed what makes Phil…Phil.  Mickelson visited places on Pete Dye’s links that Dye had forgotten about.  Phil played from paths and long grass, sand and scrub, waste areas, fan viewing areas and grass so deep goats wouldn’t even go there.  He even broke it up by hitting a boring fairway or two, actually five and only seven greens.  What other golfer can hit seven greens and shoot one over par?

But as tough as his day was it could have been much worse.  Any other human cards an 80 and starts packing for a long weekend home.  But Phil used his unmatched recovery skills, remarkable short game and a hot putter (eleven one putts) to salvage his 73.

Peter Kostis summed up Phil’s unrivaled short game skills  “He’s got so much talent and so much imagination in the short-game area. I don’t know that anybody can play the repertoire of shots he has.”

Phil needed every bit of that repertoire to scrape together that round but he’ll need to get that driver under control if he wants to win his second PGA Championship.  Ever the optimist, Phil thinks he can get his game straightened out.  “I was just a fraction off here or there.  I fought hard today and kept myself right in it, for the most part, and should get a bit of a weather break tomorrow morning.”

“It could have been quite a bit higher.  It could have been quite a bit lower, though, too. “

“I’m going to actually start going after it tomorrow,” Mickelson said. “I’m going to start trying to give it a little bit extra off the tee and see if I can get it down there and take advantage.”

Oh boy…what will Phil do next?

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