Amy inspires Mickelson
Phil Mickelson, inspired by his wife Amy, gave the field a message in Thursday’s first round of the Farmers Insurance Open.
Phil Mickelson, inspired by having his wife Amy walking with him, gave the field a message in Thursday’s first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
The world’s greatest modern left-handed golfer shot a 5-under par 67 to secure a share of the first round lead with John Dale and Fabian Gomez on the tough South course and made it clear he means business this week after stretching his competitive muscles for the first time this year in Abu Dhabi last week.
The South Course, which hosted the 2009 US Open and is one of the longest on the US PGA Tour, is some 500 yards longer and is seriously tougher than the much more benign North Course at this world-renowned San Diego municipal facility and it was no surprise that the lowest scores of the day were recorded on the North Course where Korean rookie took advantage of its shorter par five holes to shoot a 64 for the lead.
Over on the South Course, where the final two rounds will be played, Mickelson saw Amy physically following his course progress for the first time since she, like his mother, were diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2009.
“I was really excited that she was here,”said Mickelson, who is only three shots off the pace as he heads into the second round on the North Course.
I forget how much I miss having her here because it’s been a while. She looks terrific, and it’s just fun that she’s back.”
Mickelson’s back nine gave him the cream of his round, the Southern Californian native hitting accurate approach shots and capitalizing with solid putting.
In all he nailed five birdies on the back nine against just one bogey.
“If you hit good shots you’re going to be rewarded and I hit some good shots on the back nine to be 4-under coming in and it was a nice way to finish the round,” Mickelson said.
Mickelson, who lives quite close to San Diego, is a two-time winner of this event, although both victories came before 2001 when the course was lengthened and given more teeth.
“I felt like I played well today and hit some good shots,” he said.
“I played it strategic. For example, on 13 I had a 6-iron in my hands, but I know I can’t get to those pins, so played it where I needed to and made my birdie. It’s little things like that I’ve picked up over the years rather than fighting it and trying to do a little too much.”
He’s looking to make an impact this year after a strange 2010 which started out brightly enough with him winning his third Masters, but then peetered out and left him without another victory.
In August it was announced that he had been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory and potentially debilitating condition, but he said recently that the problem is now under control.
Mickelson only finished 37th last week, but saw it as an excellent warm-up for his opening 2011 tournament in America this week.
“It gave me a good foundation where I was able to work on my game in good weather with good practice facilities with [swing coach] Butch Harmon,” he explained.
“It allowed me to get my fundamentals down on the swing. I felt like [yesterday] I was hitting shots, hitting little fades, hitting little draws and it was fun.”
Having his wife and mother in his corner, made it all the more fun; indeed a day to remember, if you look from where the two recent cancer patients have come.
Billy Horschel sets out to double prize money at event aimed at boosting diversity
The 34-year-old American hosted the inaugural Billy Horschel APGA Tour Invitational at Sawgrass in July.
Rory McIlroy claims 20th PGA title with victory in CJ Cup
The Northern Irishman put his Ryder Cup torment behind him to win by a stroke from Collin Morikawa.
Matt Fitzpatrick responds to Ryder Cup disappointment with Andalucia Masters win
The Yorkshireman was bogey-free in the final round at the notoriously difficult Valderrama.
Rory McIlroy two shots off the lead after sizzling 62 in Las Vegas
The Northern Irishman shot his lowest score since 2019 to take second place heading into the final round.
Rory McIlroy looking to kick on after emotional Ryder Cup
McIlroy broke down in tears in a rare show of emotion in Wisconsin.
Jon Rahm keen to win at Valderrama for ‘historic reasons and nostalgia’
The Spaniard is hoping to perform on home soil.
‘Stupid is as stupid does’ – Phil Mickelson criticises club length restriction
The R&A and USGA have brought in a ‘model local rule’ to limit all clubs other than putters to a maximum of 46 inches.
Top-level golf tournaments to be given option of imposing limit on club length
This could curb the big-hitting likes of Bryson DeChambeau in their continual quest for greater length off the tee.
THE CJ CUP: Vegas links that could help us hit the jackpot this week
The PGA Tour remains in Las Vegas this week and several players in the field have some home advantage which could prove significant.