Once again playing his way into a major, Phil Mickelson is on the early leaderboard at the FedEx St. Jude Classic after salvaging some late-round momentum.
Mickelson made a bogey on the fifth hole at TPC Southwind, his 14th of the day, and felt a solid opening effort slipping away. But thanks to some tidy work on and around the greens and a close tee shot on the par-3 eighth hole, Mickelson got to the clubhouse with a 4-under 66 that left him in a large tie for second, one shot behind Seamus Power.
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“I make a bogey and I’m almost making another one, and I was able to kind of gather myself if you will and start to control my thoughts a bit better,” Mickelson told SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. “I was able to finish the round off, even though I didn’t quite have it there at the end.”
Mickelson made an 11-footer for eagle on the par-5 third hole and added three other birdies during the round. It continues a strong record for Mickelson in Memphis, who has not finished worse than T-11 while playing this event every year since 2013. He has now broken par in eight straight rounds at TPC Southwind, and he hasn’t been over par since the final round in 2014.
With the course set for a bigger spotlight next year when it hosts a WGC event, Mickelson appreciates the stern test of a layout that includes only a pair of par-5s.
“The thing about this golf course is that it’s hard to go shoot 8 or 9 under par. Nobody really does it,” Mickelson said. “You’ve got to hit a lot of great shots, otherwise it’s difficult pars. But if you hit good tee shots you can make some birdies, and the holes I hit good tee shots they were very easy pars and some birdies.”