Fort Worth, Texas – Phil Mickelson kept listening to words of congratulations as he made his way around the Colonial, and the crowd roared heavily when the PGA Championship winner made a long put to end his round. Jordan Spieth continued to make birdies in the same group.
Spieth scored 7-under 63 on Thursday and tied for a first-round lead in the Charles Schwab Challenge with Sergio Garcia, who attempted a 15-foot birdie on the 18th hole that circled the edge of the cup. But don’t go in. Both former colonial champions had bogey-free rounds.
Mickelson, 50, was 10 strokes behind after 73, just four days after becoming the Golf Major’s oldest winner, ending with a 22-foot birdie playing alongside local favorite Spieth and defending colonial champion Daniel Berger (68) Was. )
“Yes, I did not play well,” Mickelson said. “But I won the PGA, therefore.”
20 years ago, at the age of 21, Garcia matched the 63rd finish at Colonial, winning the first of his 11 PGA Tour victories. He was 5-under on a four-hole stretch in the middle of the round. He birdied the 8–20 hole before a chile in the 620-yard 11th, where he exploded from a greenside bunker on the longest hole of the course.
“It was quite windy. It was fast, so it was not easy to pull a few clubs,” Garcia said. “There were some hard holes, but I was able to hit really good shots on those holes, and a couple up-and-downs when I needed them.”
Just after Mickelson’s final put in the 387-yard ninth, Spieth had a tap-in for his third consecutive birdie, and seventh overall – and just after a 71-foot chip-in from Ruff on the par-3 eighth. The 2016 winner and two-time runner-up had his best score in 33 career rounds at Colonial, one of two local events for the Dallas native, after he rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt to start the day.
“It’s hard to go any down,” Spieth said. “I talked about it before the tournament. If I can get to go a couple quicker in the first round, and the confidence, and the work I’ve been doing on my strokes over the last few days… I thought that would give me a little bit of confidence the rest of the round on the greens where I have been very successful before. “
Eric Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient who went on the field on a sponsor exemption, and Jason Kocrak had 65. Compton, 41, played without a bogey after Birdy in the first two holes of his second PGA Tour this year. He missed the cut at the Honda Classic.
Mickelson, the 2000 and 2008 Colonial winner, missed nine out of 14 fairways – some ironed to the tee – in an early round that ended after a few days emotionally.
After winning Sunday at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, Mickelson flew home that night to California, then allowed himself a few days to enjoy his historic achievement. Lefty said he never considered leaving Hogan’s Alley, a tree-lined course that he considers perfectly suited to his sport because he doesn’t have to kill drivers.
But after a lot of rain recently, the rough is dense, and more likely on Friday.
Mickelson, who was playing his last tournament before the hometown US Open at Torre Pines the following month, ruffled on his first swing of the day. He made his first of his five bogeys in 11th place, saving two in the 40th-yard 10th, where he hit two shots in the rough and another in a greenside bunker. He finally made the par-3 16th birdie from within 5 feet, then immediately returned that stroke to number 17, with the first two shots going to the rough and the 44-foot shot into the bunker.
“It was almost like I was trying a bit too much, and I just wasn’t calm and let it happen, and I was a little cheesy,” Mikkelsen said, then adding volatile words. “Like I could not calm down at all in the same frame of mind.”
Mikelson said the course was very playable even with winds of 15–20 mph due to the receptive greens. But he could not place the ball in the fairway.
“You can’t play this course in the rough because then you have tree troubles, which I used to have again and again, and I didn’t put well,” he said. “But I won the PGA, so I’ll see if I can change it for tomorrow and get a little better focus, a little better energy.”
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