SAN ANTONIO -- Phil Mickelson knew he needed birdie on TPC San Antonio's par-5 18th hole Friday to make the cut at the Valero Texas Open. He tried to hit the green, which is guarded by a creek on its right side, with his 280-yard second shot, but his ball missed the green and came to rest where the grass and water meet. “If there ever was a shot to play out of the water, it would be the last shot of the day, right?” he joked.
He took off his left shoe, rolled his pant leg up to his knee and hit his pitch shot to 5 feet, then made the putt for a second-round 70. At 3-over 147, he made the cut on the number.
Mickelson, who is playing the Valero Texas Open for the first time since 1992, came to Texas in order to play more competitive rounds before the Masters; his final birdie allowed him to play two more. Even though he barely snuck into the weekend, Mickelson saw positive signs in his game. He also is scheduled to play next week's Shell Houston Open before he tries to win his fourth Masters.
“It’s important for me that mentally I get more into the round kind of like I did today, whereas yesterday I was very sloppy,” Mickelson said. “The shots that I’m playing today, playing this week, are not conducive to this golf course. I’m hitting drivers high up in the air and as hard as I can into a fairway that is but a fraction of what we will face at Augusta and hitting high iron shots up in the air in this wind is just not conducive, but there is no need for me to work on a knockdown shot until the summer.
“I actually really like the way I’m driving the ball. I’m hitting the ball hard, I’m hitting it high, my speed is back, my back feels great, my body feels great, and I’m able to hit the ball hard again. The driver isn’t leaking left on me. If anything, my miss is a slight hook, which is great because it means the face is squaring up and I’m able to go forward and accelerate and swing harder. … My game feels really good, and it has the last couple weeks. Unfortunately, I have not had as great as a focus, I haven’t seen the shot well, I haven’t been into a good competitive frame of mind. It hasn’t been a strength this year.”
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