FORT WORTH, Texas – Phil Mickelson he kept hearing congratulations as he moved around the Colonial, and the audience roared with a huge roar as the PGA Championship winner ran for a long time to finish his round. Jordan Spieth continued to make birds in the same group.
Spieth shot at 7:63 on a cool Thursday, and was tied for the lead in the first round of the Charles Schwab Challenge. Sergio Garcia, who tried a birdie with 15 feet on the 18th hole circling around the rim of the cup, but did not enter. Both former colonial champions had rounds without an excavator.
Fifty-year-old Mickelson, just four days after becoming the oldest winner in golf, returned 10 strokes after 73 that ended with a 22-foot bird as he played with local favorite Spieth and defended the colonial champion Daniel Berger (68).
“Yeah, I didn’t play well,” Mickelson said. “But I won the PGA, so yes.”
Garcia parried the final 63, which he had at the Colonial, when 21 years ago he won the first of his 11 PGA Tour victories at the age of 21. He was 5 years under the field with four holes in the middle of the round. Bird hole no. 8-10 before the eagle on the 11th from 620 meters, where he flew out of the green bunker on the longest hole on the track.
“It was pretty windy. It was on the bumps, so it wasn’t easy to pull some clubs,” Garcia said. “There were some tough holes there, but I managed to hit some really good shots on those holes and a few ups and downs when I needed them.”
Immediately after Mickelson’s last shot at 387 yards, Spieth had a bonus for his third birdie in a row and seventh overall – and that immediately after inserting 71 meters from the rough on the eighth par-3. The 2016 winner and two-time runner-up had his best result in 33 rounds of his career at the Colonial, one of two local events for the Dallas, after heading into a bird’s-eye view for the start of the day.
“It’s hard to get down,” Spieth said. “I talked about it before the tournament. If I could get the pair to go early in the first round, and the confidence and work I’ve been doing on my stroke the last few days … I thought it would exude just a little confidence in the rest of the round on the green in which I have been very successful before. “
Erik Compton, a double heart transplant recipient who entered the field with the exception of the sponsor, and Jason Kokrak was 65 years old. The 41-year-old Compton played nonsense after the birds on the first two holes of the second PGA Tour started this year. He missed the cut on the Honda Classic.
Mickelson, the colonial champion in 2000 and 2008, missed nine of the 14 waterways – some with teapot iron – in the bloody early start round that followed an emotionally draining few days.
After winning on Kiawah Island in South Carolina on Sunday, Mickelson flew home to California that night and then allowed himself a few days to enjoy his historic achievement. Lefty said he never thought about skipping Hogan Alley, a tree-lined path he deems perfectly suitable for his game because he doesn’t have to keep hitting drivers.
But it’s been roughly dense after a lot of rain lately, and chances are good for another Friday.
Mickelson, playing his last tournament before his native US Open at Torrey Pines next month, embarked on a rough fight at the first swing of the day. Saving the pair on a tithe of 407 yards, he quickly had the first of his five thieves at number 11, where he hit two shots in the rough and another in the bunker in the green position. He finally made a bird on a par-3 16th from a 5-foot inside and then immediately hit 17th with the first two shots in the rough face before 44 yards into the bunker.
“It was like I was trying a little too hard, and I wasn’t just calm and let it happen, and I was also a little nervous,” Mickelson said, adding the term unresolved at the time. “Like I just couldn’t calm down in that same mind.”
Mickelson said the track was very playful, even with winds of 15-20 mph, due to the receptive greenery. But he couldn’t keep the ball on the waterway.
“You can’t play this game roughly, because then you have problems with wood, which I had several times and I didn’t do well,” he said. “But I won a PGA, so I’ll see if I can turn it around for tomorrow and get a little better focus, a little better energy.”