Phil Mickelson flirts with a 59 at the Desert Classic – but not in Dubai!

Five-times Major champion, Phil Mickelson, proved the old guard is still a force to be reckoned with in 2019, as the 48 year-old carded a 12 under par 60 at La Quinta Country Club in the opening round of the PGA Tour’s Desert Classic.

At 7,125 yards with limited rough, La Quinta Country Club isn’t the most challenging course on the PGA Tour schedule but Mickelson still managed to record his lowest score on Tour in relation to par. His 11 holes of birdie or better (10 birdies, 1 eagle) were his most sub-par scores in a single round.

His previous two 60s came at the par-71 TPC Scottsdale, home to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he went on to win both times.

“I haven’t really had the intense practice sessions that I would like, but I felt like all parts were okay and it just clicked, … and the bad shots that I hit I got away with,” said the world number 33. “It was a fun day, but I certainly did not expect this to be the case, but I’m also excited to start the year so I was fresh.”

Mickelson had only once carded a 59 and that was at 2004 Grand Slam of Golf, which unfortunately for him was a unofficial event. So with his first 59 on the cards he was pushing as hard as he could during the closing holes: “I was giving it all I had and I had a good chance. On 17 I hit a nice tee shot in a good spot to kind of hook a sand wedge into that back right pin for me. And I hit a good shot, I had 18 feet though, I should have hit that closer, but still had a good chance to make the putt.”

He missed the putt and needed to slam-dunk his approach on 18 for an eagle but came up short and tapped in for a birdie to sign for a 60 and a three shot lead over the field.

La Quinta Country Club is protected by trees and challenging undulations but with no rough in sight you can see why someone could go low.

Many will argue that La Quinta was playing like a pitch and put for these guys, with par5s just over 500 and par4s not much over 400 yards but when you consider Danny Willett on the same course shot three over and World Number One Justin Rose only managed to post a four under par round it obviously wasn’t as easy as Phil made it look!

Justin Rose doesn’t seem too impressed with his round, as Mickelson’s 60 put the World Number One eight shots back after the opening day.
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