Phil Mickelson escapes trees with driver off the deck, makes birdie, and we are entertained
NAPA, Calif. – Phil Mickelson never ceases to amaze.
On Friday, Lefty cracked his 2-wood and drove it left into the trees at the par-5 16th hole at Silverado Resort & Spa’s North Course, but as he’s done so many times before, he pulled a rabbit out of his hat and circled a birdie on the scorecard en route to shooting 3-under 69 in the second round of the Fortinet Championship.
“After that tee shot, that could have gone really wrong,” Mickelson said.
Right, indeed. But that didn’t stop Mickelson from hitting driver off the deck, under the tree and through a little window of daylight.
“If it hits the tree, it goes in the hazard, I’m making 7,” Mickelson said. “So it was a critical shot.”
Under normal circumstances, Mickelson would have opted for the 2-wood, but “I didn’t know which way it was going to go.”
He guessed he may have damaged the club as early as Thursday, and hit a snap-hook with it at 14 and then sent his tee shot at 16 sailing left.
“It flattened and then the spin rate numbers started to go off. Like I know the signs, but I just didn’t want to switch, it’s been such a good club for me. But I’ve gone through five now in the last year, so it’s not a big deal,” he said, noting that he had another head with him that he would use in the third round.
Mickelson pulled off the risky shot from the trees, leaving himself a lob wedge from 84 yards. It wasn’t his best effort, but he poured in the 20-foot birdie.
Just another routine birdie for Mickelson, to hear him describe it: “So I hit driver, got it through the gap and wedged on and made the putt,” he said.
Mickelson made five birdies on the day and with a 36-hole total of 5-under 139, he trails leader Maverick McNealy by seven strokes.
“I’m putting well, so I’ve got a chance to make a run at it, but the greens are so firm that if you’re not in the fairway, you can’t stop it,” he said. “So, I’m going to have to hit more fairways. And that 2-wood’s a really important club for me, so when it goes bad I struggle.”
Not from the trees left of 16 he didn’t.
Check the yardage book: Silverado’s North Course for the Fortinet Championship