Mickelson checks out of Safeway on high note

Phil Mickelson 2017 2018 PGA Tour Associated Press

Mickelson checks out of Safeway on high note

PGA Tour

Mickelson checks out of Safeway on high note

Phil Mickelson’s game continued to improve this weekend at the Safeway Open.

He did not play well enough to win, closing with a 70 on Sunday. But even Lefty acknowledged his game remains on an upswing following his 12-under performance at the Safeway Open.

“It’s just easy to see the ball starting on the right line. Iron play is back. Distance control. Putting. The game has just come back. My focus is better. I am staying present, focused and hitting the shots,” he told Golf Channel after his round on Sunday.

Mickelson, 47, finished three shots behind winner Brendan Steele. He was tied for third with Chesson Hadley at 276 in the 2017-18 PGA Tour season-opener.

“I knew I needed the birdie the last three,” he said. “Unfortunately, the tee shot on 17, if I hit the fairway, that’s a birdie pin. But I missed it where I couldn’t miss it. And I bogeyed the hole.”

There was a spark in Mickelson evident throughout the weekend.

He even knew when to poke fun at himself.

At the par-5 16th, Mickelson striped a drive. His shot stopped on the high grass. It would be his 15th and final fairway in regulation.

“I had a good time today. It was fun to be in the mix. It was fun to have a chance. It was a very difficult course,” he later told Golf Channel. “This course played totally different with the firm greens, and the wind. Some of the pin placements were difficult to get to.”

Up next on his calendar: the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

“I’ll get a few things ironed out. I am going to go to China. I have won that twice. I will see if I can get a win there.”

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