Mickelson: ‘Disappointed … but I got outplayed’
February 09, 2020
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Phil Mickelson nearly holes bunker shot on No. 2 at AT&T Pebble Beach
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Phil Mickelson has enjoyed many productive days at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in his illustrious career. Five times, in fact, he walked away with the winner’s trophy.
But Sunday was not one of those days. A disastrous double bogey at the par-4 eighth was the start of an 11-hole finishing stretch that he played in 4 over. Instead of pressing eventual winner Nick Taylor for the lead, Mickelson dropped a spot down the leaderboard, settling for solo third behind Kevin Streelman with a 2-over 74.
The Mickelson short-game magic, on full display the day before, only showed itself a couple of times Sunday. Certainly not enough to keep up with Taylor, who shot a 2-under 70 to win by four shots, in the final group.
No excuses, though. For one of the few times, Mickelson proved human at Pebble Beach when the pressure was on.
“It’s disappointing certainly to have not won, but I got outplayed,” Mickelson said. “I mean, Nick played better than I did. He holed a couple of great shots.”
The first of those was at the par-5 sixth, a pivotal moment for Mickelson’s chances. He was on the green in two; Taylor, holding a one-shot lead, was in the greenside bunker. But instead of gaining at least one shot, Mickelson walked off the green with a two-shot deficit after Taylor holed out and Mickelson missed his 38-footer for eagle.
Two holes later, Mickelson’s short game disappeared. His chip from the rough 39 feet away from just off the green ran past the pin and rolled downhill off the green, leaving him 72 feet away. His fourth was low and finished left of the pin, and he failed to roll in his bogey putt from 13 feet.
After another bogey at nine, Mickelson found himself five shots behind at the turn. That deficit was eventually trimmed to two after a Taylor double bogey at the 14th, but with tough wind conditions coming in, Mickelson struggled to make anything happen on the back nine, as he bogeyed three of his last seven holes.
“I had a tough time with the conditions. “I had a tough time making pars,” Mickelson said. “But my focus and everything was really sharp today. I just didn’t execute. We had a few misjudgments of the wind … it was just a tough round.”
So he didn’t get win No. 6 in this event, or No. 45 in his career. But the 49-year-old Mickelson did leave Pebble Beach with something to build on. He’s now managed consecutive third-place finishes on two different Tours in back-to-back weeks – he was T3 in Saudi Arabia on the European Tour a week ago. It’s been two years since his previous two-start stretch with consecutive top-5 finishes.
“These last couple of weeks have really given me a lot of motivation and momentum to continue doing what I’ve been doing,” Mickelson said. “… I’ve had two third-place finishes and I’m going to continue to build on that and give myself more chances.
“And I’m having a ton of fun. It’s just really fun having a chance.”