American Phil Mickelson started his golf career in the PGA’s Champion-series (for players 50 and older) with a triumph on Wednesday by equalling the record for the lowest score over 54 holes and a victory at the Charles Schwab-tournament at Ozarks National in Ridgedale, Missouri.
And he made it look like child’s play. The US left-hander wanted some extra competitive rounds ahead of next month's US Open at Winged Foot, where Mickelson will again try to complete a career Grand Slam at an event where he has finished second a record six times.
Mickelson ended on a stellar 66 (5-under) in the last round, for a total of 199 (22-under). He ended four shots in front of his closest competition, fellow countryman Tim Petrovic. "I got off to a good start. I wasn't as sharp on the back nine," said Mickelson.
"Fortunately, I made some good lag putts. I made enough to have a 3-shot lead on 17 and 18." In becoming the 20th player in tour history to win his debut, and second of the year after Jim Furyk, Mickelson was triumphant in wire-to-wire fashion to claim a $450 000 top prize by four strokes over fellow American Tim Petrovic.
Even Tiger Woods was impressed, saying “He is playing unbelievable golf.He said he’s been close to playing well. I think that he was already one of the longer hitters out here, and now he goes to where he’s going to pick up a huge advantage off the tee, but you have to take advantage of that opportunity off the tee.
His wedge game is off the charts, as we all know. … There’s no reason why he can’t win every event he plays out there”. “I really had a great time. It’s fun for me to compete. I got to shoot scores and compete, and the competition here is really strong and it was fun for me to get off to a good start and play well,” said Mickelson after his win.
During his illustrious career so far, Mickelson has won 44 tournaments in the regular PGA-series, including five majors. He qualified for the senior series when he turned 50 in June. After failing to go ahead after the first tournament in the PGA-series’ playoffs to reach the FedEx-Cup, Mickelson decided to join the senior tournament at Ozarks National.
He is far from done with the regular PGA-series, though and is planning to play in a warm-up tournament ahead of the American Open at Winged Foot. Mickelson plans to take 10 days off before heading to the Safeway Open for what he hopes is his final U.S.
Open prep. "Obviously, I have a lot of work to do and some redemption at Winged Foot, but it's a great golf course and I'm looking forward to the challenge," said six-times US Open runner-up Phil Mickelson.