Phil Mickelson missed a chance to break the PGA Tour’s 36-hole scoring record when he finished with a double bogey after driving into the water at the Phoenix Open on Friday.
Mickelson followed his opening 60 with a 65 to reach 17-under 125, one stroke off the tour record for the first two rounds of a tournament shared by Pat Perez and David Toms.
Mickelson did tie the Phoenix Open record set by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001.
Bill Haas was second, four strokes back.
A day after missing a chance for a 59 when his 25-foot putt on the ninth lipped out, Mickelson managed to birdie that hole on Friday, one day too late.
This time it was the last hole of the day that cost him a record as his drive bounced into the water hazard to the left of the fairway.
”Unfortunately, I made a double on the last hole and didn’t finish the way I wanted to,” Mickelson said. ”But it’s a good example of what can happen on this course. You can make a lot of birdies and eagles, make up a lot of ground, but there’s a lot of water and trouble there that if you misstep you can easily make bogeys and double.”
Even after finding the water, Mickelson still had a chance at the record. Following his penalty drop, he could have got a par, but he didn’t get enough on his approach shot, with the ball landing on the green and rolling off the front edge.
His chip got away from him a bit, running 7 feet past, and his bogey putt slid by to the left, leaving him with a share of the Phoenix Open 36-hole record set by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001.
”I hit a good shot, I thought,” Mickelson said. ”I tried to start it right down the middle and hold it into the wind. It just leaked a little bit left. I still thought it was up. … Then I hit a poor wedge from there. But the tee shot I didn’t think was going to be in the water at any point.”
The double bogey left him four strokes ahead of Haas (64) and five in front of Keegan Bradley (63) and Brandt Snedeker (66).
Mickelson will play alongside Haas and Bradley in the third round.
”Bill and I have played on a Presidents Cup team, and Keegan and I have been partners in the Ryder Cup and had an incredibly emotional and fun experience together as partners,” Mickelson said. ”We’re going to have a fun day tomorrow.”
Mickelson, the winner at TPC Scottsdale in 1996 and 2005, parred the first six holes and played the next 11 in 8 under before the lapse on 18.
Relishing his time back in the state where he attended college, the 42-year-old made a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-4 ninth – the hole where he missed the putt for a 59 on Thursday – and overpowered the par-5 15th for an eagle, hitting to 4 feet after a 358-yard drive.
”I felt really comfortable on the tee box, so I kind of let one go and caught a hold of it and ended up having 191 to the pin,” Mickelson said. ”It was only 186 to the front, and I hit a hard 8-iron. There was a little bit of helping wind.”
After a par on the par-3 16th that drew boos from the rowdy fans on the stadium hole when his tee shot trickled into the fringe, he drove the green on the 344-yard 17th and two-putted from 70 feet – leaving his eagle try a foot short – for birdie.
Bradley also eagled the 15th, hitting a 350-yard drive and a 7-iron approach to 8 feet.
”I just smashed a driver down there,” Bradley said. ”I had been hitting 3-wood and I’m driving the ball so well that I just decided to rip driver down there.”
He birdied the 16th, hitting to 5 feet, then birdied Nos. 5-8 on his back nine, holing putts of 10 15, 20 and 8 feet.
”It was such a relief to shoot a good number,” Bradley said. ”I’ve been playing so well this whole year and haven’t made many putts. Today, the putts started to go in.”
Haas began play on No. 10 and made the turn at 6-under 30.
”We all know the way the course is playing, if there’s no wind on the weekend, you’ve just got to keep making birdies,” Haas said.