LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) — Phil Mickelson still feels as young as ever. He still plays that way, too.
Mickelson began his 27th full season as a pro Thursday by flirting with one of the few feats he hasn’t accomplished — golf’s magic number. The 48-year-old left-hander still shot a 12-under 60 in the Desert Classic, tying his career-low score he last shot in the Phoenix Open six years ago. It was the most under par he has been in any of the 2,077 rounds he has played on the PGA Tour.
Needing to play the final two holes in 2 under to shoot 59, Mickelson missed a 15-foot birdie try on the par-4 17th before holing a 9-footer for birdie on the par-4 18th. The round at La Quinta Country Club was his first on tour since early October and the first in competition since beating Tiger Woods in Las Vegas in November in a made-for-TV event.
Lefty birdied the first two holes and played the back-to-back par 5s in 3 under with a birdie on No. 5 and a 5-foot eagle putt on No. 6. He added a birdie on the par-4 ninth for a front-nine 30, and birdied the par-4 10th, par-5 11th, par-5 13th and par-4 14th, holing a chip from in front of the 14th green. He then ran in a 5-footer for birdie on the par-4 16th.