All the talk heading into the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was about Jordan Spieth and Jason Day being back on the course together. Jordan and Jason were the headliners and with six of the top ten golfers in the world teeing it up on Pebble it was going to be a battle of the “new generation.”
But what do you know…no one told Philly Mick to leave the new kids alone and let then play on the beach.
Phil Mickelson continued his Pebble Beach party crashing this afternoon with a gorgeous bogey free 66 that got him to 16 under par and two shots clear of Hiroshi Iwata of Japan.
This is Phil’s fourth straight week of tournament golf and all that “it’s close” rhetoric he has been spewing recently certainly showed up this week. Rounds of 68-65-66 which include 17 birdies, an eagle and an unMickelson-like measly three bogeys have given Phil a new spring in his 45 year old step and that classic wide grin is back on his face.
It was Phil at his best: challenging holes with his driver (and 3-wood), attacking pins with his irons, flopping it when needed and sinking putts like he knows he can. Of course, Phil wasn’t as accurate as he would like but then accuracy never was his strong point, scoring always was.
He finished the first three rounds third in strokes gained putting and fourth in strokes gained total. That’s a formula that may just get him his fifth AT&T title and his 43rd PGA Tour win.
Phil hasn’t hoisted any hardware since the Claret Jug back in 2013 when he won at Muirfield with a final round for the ages.
Anything like that round on Sunday will give the re-energized Phil another title and jump start an inconsistent season that started with a T3 only to be followed by a missed cut and then a T11.
Phil and his new swing mechanics are showing these young bucks, this new “Big 3” or “Big 4” if you wish that there is still some life in those old bones, still some game in that arthritic body and still some spark in a 45 year old who still thinks he’s a kid.
That kid is ready to crash this Pebble Beach party.