It’s one of those situations where we had to blink and take a second look, toggle back and forth between screens on the PGA Tour’s website. Did Phil Mickelson really make quadruple-bogey 9 not once, but twice in the PGA Tour Champions Dominion Energy Charity Classic. On the same hole, which is why it gave us pause.
In Saturday’s second round, Mickelson was three under (two under for the tournament) when he arrived at the par-5 ninth. He then pumped two tee shots out of bounds, played his fifth shot from the tee and eventually wrote down a 9. That ultimately led to a 74 that put Mickelson well down the board.
Mind you, the ninth hole at the Country Club of Virginia plays at only 547 yards and was the third-easiest scoring hole this week. And Mickelson birdied it in the first round on Friday. So he returned to No. 9 on Sunday no doubt wanting payback. After starting on the 10th tee, it was his 18th hole of the day, and Mickelson was in the midst of a spectacular run of seven birdies in his first 12 holes.
But it all unraveled, with Lefty making double-bogey 5 at the par-3 fourth, and then his second 9 at the ninth to wrap it up. He shot 31 on the front and 40 on the back for an anything-but-pedestrian 71 that put him in a tie for 47th. He was 14 shots back of 64-year-old playoff winner Bernhard Langer.
It was an awfully sour finish for Mickelson, who entered the week as the defending champion, having won last year’s event with a 17-under total. Too, this was Mickelson’s worst result in five starts on the Champions tour, on which he’s won three times, including two weeks ago in the Furyk & Friends.
Mickelson didn’t talk to the media after each of the last two rounds, so his thoughts on the week aren’t known. He did have plenty to say before the tournament. A camera captured him telling a fan that Kiawah Island, where he won the PGA Championship in May, is “not that hard,” and he said of his venture into senior golf, “I’m using it as a chance to be competitive but in an environment that doesn’t beat you up.”
Does he count a couple of quadruple bogeys as getting a bit roughed up?
Mickelson also dimissed a reporter’s query earlier in the week about him saying he’d have to be more careful in moving his ball around the course in this tournament after being 81st in accuracy in his last win.
“So, I look at longest, like I try to hit it the farthest out here, and I was No. 1 in driving distance,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it. If you want to look at stuff that’s irrelevant, have at it.”