CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Simply final week, Phil Mickelson complained about his incapability to focus correctly as he struggled but once more, lacking the reduce on the Valspar Championship.
It was Joel Dahmen who acquired Mickelson’s full consideration Thursday on the Wells Fargo Championship, when Dahmen talked about him in a few good-natured social media posts, saying he was attending to “verify off a bucket record merchandise” by enjoying with Mickelson for the primary time. Later, Dahmen, who received his first PGA Tour occasion earlier this yr, tweeted that he was excited to see “how my sport stacks up towards the perfect of the Champions Tour.”
Mickelson responded together with his finest spherical of the yr, capturing 7-under-par 64 at Quail Hole to take a two-shot lead by 18 holes.
Mickelson, 50, has received twice on the over-50 circuit however has not posted a PGA Tour end higher than his twenty first on the Masters final month since a tie for second final August on the WGC-FedEx Invitational. Throughout that point, he is missed seven cuts in 16 tournaments and dropped to a hundred and fifteenth on the planet.
“It is simply focus; I am simply current on every shot,” Mickelson mentioned after hitting 14 greens in regulation and taking simply 25 putts. He had eight birdies and a bogey on the par-71 course.
Mickelson added: “The course holds my consideration. I have been doing a little psychological workouts and so forth simply to attempt to get my focus to elongate over 5 hours and so forth. That is been an actual battle for me the previous few years as a result of bodily here is nothing holding me again from enjoying at a excessive stage. However you can not make errors at this stage. The blokes out listed below are simply so good, and I have been making a whole lot of errors, soar merely not being mentally sharp.”
After making a bogey on his second gap of the day, the par-4 eleventh, Mickelson was almost flawless. He gave himself a number of shut possibilities on the 14th, fifteenth, sixteenth and 18th holes, making all of them to show in 32. He then added birdies on the first, seventh and eighth holes, and acquired up and down for a par on the ninth to shoot 64 for a two-shot lead over Keegan Bradley and Kyoung-Hoon Lee.
Bradley completed second final week on the Valspar Championship. The 64 is one off his finest at Quail Hole, shot in 2014.
“I poked him just a little bit and he performed superior right this moment,” mentioned Dahmen, who shot 68 and is in a bunch of gamers tied for tenth, 4 pictures again. “It was unbelievable. We type of ribbed one another down the primary gap after which it was like, okay let’s play some golf now. I am positive there will likely be a whole lot of ribbing in our future observe rounds. However there was simply a whole lot of good pictures and storytelling.”
Mickelson dropped out of the highest 100 on the planet earlier this yr for the primary time since 1993, a run of 1,425 weeks. His earlier scores have been a 67 throughout the second spherical of the Saudi Worldwide occasion on the European Tour and a 68 throughout the second spherical of the Honda Basic.
The final of Mickelson’s 44 PGA Tour victories got here on the 2019 AT&T Pebble Seaside Nationwide Professional-Am.
“The iron play right this moment was unbelievable,” Dahmen mentioned. “He hit so many nice pictures it appeared like within 6 toes. And clearly he can pitch it and putt it unbelievably and he made all of his putts right this moment. He was type of hitting this dink reduce previous my driver all day and that is spectacular.
“If he performs like this, he can play wherever, anytime towards anyone.”
Mickelson has been using a 2-wood in sure circumstances off the tee that’s 11.5 levels. He referred to as it a mini driver head that acts like a robust 3-wood. “I really feel like I will get a whole lot of chase out of it and I do not lose any distance,” Mickelson mentioned.
Mickelson mentioned final week he was not sure if he would settle for a particular exemption — if supplied — from the US Golf Affiliation to play within the U.S. Open subsequent month at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Mickelson has received the PGA Tour occasion performed on the venue thrice and lives within the space.
With out an exemption, he would wish to maneuver into the highest 60 on the planet by one among two cutoff factors: Could 24 or June 7. A victory right here would get Mickelson into the highest 50. In need of that, Mickelson mentioned he has signed up for sectional qualifying on June 8, which requires advancing from a 36-hole occasion.