GolfChannel.com is tracking Phil Mickelson at Pinehurst No. 2 as he tries to win his first U.S. Open and complete the career Grand Slam.
Phil eyes Augusta after third straight top-6 finish
LOS ANGELES – For the third straight Sunday, a valiant back-nine charge came up just short for Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson began the final round of the Genesis Open five shots off the lead, but after a chip-in birdie on No. 12 he got within a shot of Bubba Watson. With the leaders a few holes behind him, he continued to press and his aggressive approaches into Nos. 15 and 16 both led to bogeys that effectively ended his chances to win for the first time since 2013.
Mickelson’s closing 3-under 68 ultimately left him in a tie for sixth, four shots behind Watson. It comes on the heels of a runner-up finish last week at Pebble Beach and a T-5 finish the week before that in Phoenix, marking the first time since 2007 that Mickelson has strung together three straight top-6 finishes.
“My game’s on the upswing,” Mickelson said. “I’m playing well enough to compete week in and week out now, and now it’s just a matter of a shot here or there, the difference between winning and not, as opposed to kind of finding my game. I’m not searching anymore.”
Mickelson added that he has seen “significant” progress in both putting and driving, two areas of concern he addressed in the offseason. But as the season’s first major continues to draw near, he believes that turning top-10s into a victory is critical to his chances at a fourth green jacket.
“I think it will be important for me, if I want to go into Augusta with the expectation of winning again, that I win before then,” Mickelson said. “If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. But I think that that would be a big thing for momentum, because you need to perform under the gun, in the clutch, and play well enough to win a tournament before you expect to win a major.”
Watson wins at Riviera for third time
Bubba Watson holed a bunker shot midway through the back nine Sunday on his way to a 2-under 69 and a two-stroke victory in the Genesis Open. Here's the plot lines of Watson's third victory in the PGA Tour's Los Angeles stop:
Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-12), Kevin Na (-10), Tony Finau (-10), Scott Stallings (-9), Patrick Cantlay (-9)
What it means: This is the third time Watson has won at Riviera Country Club, following victories in 2014 and 2016. It's his 10th PGA Tour win and his first since he won at Riviera two years ago. After a shaky, three-bogey, two-birdie front nine, he settled down - helped by his prodigious length - to make three birdies on the back with no dropped shots.
Round of the day: Adam Hadwin shot his second consecutive 5-under-par 66. Only a second-round 74 kept him from being squarely in the mix.
Best of the rest: Jordan Spieth shot a final-round 67 to finish tied for ninth.
Biggest disappointment: Graeme McDowell was just two shots off the lead after 54 holes, seeking his first win since 2015, but he closed with a 77 and fell 23 spots.
Shot of the day: Watson's bunker hole-out from 16 yards at the par-3 14th. It gave him a two-stroke cushion over Cantlay.
Quote of the day: "It means a lot. My goal has always been to get 10 wins." - Bubba Watson
Bubba holes birdie from bunker after caddie calls it
Bubba Watson started the final round of the Genesis Open with the lead, but quickly squandered it with three bogeys on the front nine.
That didn't crush the two-time tournament champion's (or his caddie's) confidence though, as evidenced by his birdie on the par-3 14th hole, which he made from the greenside bunker.
Watson regained the final-round lead by finding the bottom of the cup with this splash-out from the sand, a shot his caddie, Ted Scott, apparently called before he hit it:
Hey, when you caddie for a guy who has two green jackets hanging in the closet at home, sometimes you just know.
Watch: Daly makes an ace at the Chubb Classic
John Daly won't walk from the Chubb Classic with the trophy, but he certainly deserves recogition for his Sunday scorecard, which came complete with a hole-in-one.
Daly aced the 154-yard par-3 16th on the Talon Course at TwinEagles, when his ball carried the froont bunker and tracked right to the hole.
Two holes later, Daly signed for a final-round 67 that included four birdies, three bogeys and two eagles, which both in the span of four holes on the back nine.