Phil Mickelson has not lost on the PGA Tour Champions.
After starting the final round three strokes behind fellow southpaw Mike Weir, Mickelson fired a final round 7-under 65 to emerge victorious at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic. The win puts him in rare company as only the third player ever to win his first two starts on PGA TOUR Champions, joining Bruce Fleisher and Jim Furyk. Mickelson won his PGA Tour Champion debut back in August at the Charles Schwab Series at Ozark National in dominant fashion.
It was a different story this week. With play cancelled on Friday due to inclement weather, Saturday was a marathon 36-hole day, with Weir looking sharp and leading heading into Sunday after shooting 13-under. Mickelson, although shooting 10-under and in solo second, was frustrated with his driving.
“I’m trying to attack,” said the notoriously aggressive Mickelson. “I’m trying to hit drivers and get after this course, but it’s hard to do from the rough.”
Birdies on four of his first seven holes led to a tie at the top, although an errant drive on the par-5 9th hole led to a bogey. But Lefty took the lead for good after Weir bogeyed the par-3 14th. Three birdies on Phil’s last four holes led to a comfortable three-stroke victory. Mickelson ended up leading the field in several statistical categories, including driving distance, birdies, and putts per green-in-regulation.
After the round, Mickelson noted what he likes about competing on the PGA Tour Champions: “I have a lot of fun playing out here because I can play aggressive and get away with a couple of misses and play the way I like to play.” Phil qualified for the senior circuit in June when he turned 50 years old and is permitted to compete both on the PGA Tour and on the PGA Tour Champions.
Next week Phil will be back on the PGA Tour, teeing it up at the Zozo Championship at Sherwood Country Club. Mickelson is looking to build momentum in preparation for The Masters. Rescheduled from its typical April dates, The Masters will take place November 12-15. Mickelson will be looking for his fourth Masters victory, which would match Arnold Palmer and Toger Woods for second all time.
As a result of Phil’s win, KPMG and the Inspiring Win program will provide new books and educational resources to the Richmond City School District. Congratulations to Phil!