HUMBLE, Texas – Phil Mickelson annually tees it up at the Shell Houston Open as the final piece of his Masters preparation. This week, though, Lefty believes his major prep kept him from contending for the trophy.
Mickelson shot four straight sub-par rounds at the Golf Club of Houston, including a 3-under 69 in the final round, but he was never truly a factor. The biggest issue? He played the par-4 sixth hole 6 over for the week. He also rinsed his final approach on No. 18 before closing with bogey.
It was one of several shots from Mickelson that found a hazard this week, shots he attributed to his focus on specifically styling his game for Augusta National.
“That’s why I like to play here, it gets me competitively sharp. I’m not playing the most strategic shots to win here,” Mickelson said. “I’m going to play the way I’m going to play next week. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. I felt like I hit a lot of good shots this week, and feel like the course next week sets up a little bit better for my game.”
Mickelson specifically noted the prevalence of hazards here that are in play off the tee. While he would normally adjust his strategy accordingly, he leaned on his driver all week – often with mixed results – because it’s the club that will need to deliver next week should he snag a fourth green jacket.
“I’ve been in every single hazard on this golf course over the years. I know exactly where they are,” he said. “To play this course effectively, you’ve got to hit a lot of 3-woods and play more defensive. At Augusta, though, you have to step on the driver, and so I hit a lot more drivers here this week than I would if I were really focused on trying to win this week. I’m more focused about hitting shots for next week.”