Phil Mickelson flirts with 59, races to early lead at Desert Classic

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Phil Mickelson flirts with 59, races to early lead at Desert Classic

PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson flirts with 59, races to early lead at Desert Classic

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Phil Mickelson still doesn’t have a sub-60 score on the PGA Tour, but we’re guessing he can live with that considering what he’s accomplished with rounds of 60 alone.

The 48-year-old flirted with a 59 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club in the opening round of the Desert Classic before ultimately firing a 12-under 60.

While not golf’s magic number, that 60 put Mickelson into a three-shot lead at the end of the day. It also ties his career low round on the PGA Tour, as he opened the 2013 Phoenix Open in 60 and shot a second-round 60 at the same event 8 years earlier.

This particular 60 also sets Mickelson apart:

For the record, the 2013 version included this agonizing lip out for 59.

Despite that heartache, Mickelson did go on to win the previous two times he shot 60 in a PGA Tour round.

Mickelson was simply flawless on Thursday, his opening round of 2019. He started birdie-birdie and then went birdie-eagle at Nos. 5 and 6 to move to 5 under and birdied the ninth to go out in 6-under 30.

The 59 Watch really came into play, though, when he started his back nine birdie-birdie to move to 8 under through 11. Another back-to-back birdie run at Nos. 13 and 14 pushed him to 10 under.

He then birdied the 16th. Now 11 under, Mickelson needed a 2-under finish in his final two holes for a 59 – which would’ve been the 11th sub-60 score in PGA Tour history.

But his 15-footer for birdie at the 17th slid by on the right. And he couldn’t hole out for eagle at the last. He did drain his 10-footer for birdie there, though, for that 60.

There’s plenty of tournament left, but Mickelson is already a two-time winner here and a 43-time PGA Tour winner overall.

With this start, he’s well on his way to No. 44.

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