MEXICO CITY – It was an eventful day, even by Phil Mickelson’s standards.
After starting the round two strokes off the lead, Mickelson wasn’t perfect on his opening nine, a 2-under effort that included three birdies and a bogey, but he remained in the hunt. That’s when things went sideways.
At No. 10, his drive sailed well left of the fairway and he was given a drop after a spectator moved his golf ball. At the 11th hole he pulled his drive right and required another drop. Both times he made par.
But his luck ran out at the 12th hole following another ruling that led to a bogey on his way to a 3-under 68. Despite his scrambling round, which is the norm for Lefty, he couldn’t hide his disappointed.
“I've shot numbers like this hitting shots like that and salvaging strokes and so forth, but I've been playing better than that,” said Mickelson, who hit just four fairways on Day 3. “I've been driving the ball better than that. That looks like the way I've hit it the last three years, all over the place and saving shots.”
Despite his troubles, Mickelson remained in the hunt, just two shots off the lead and tied for third with Rory McIlroy, who was predictably impressed with Lefty’s scrambling ability.
“Phil rode his luck out there, but jeez, if I was hitting it off the tee like he did today, there's no way I would shoot 68,” McIlroy said. “Like I would be a mess if I was hitting it the way he was today. I guess that's the difference between us. I like to see it going down the fairway and playing nice that way, where he goes like [sideways] and shoots two better than me, so there you go.”