It wasn't the weekend finish he envisioned, but Phil Mickelson still viewed his stint at the Travelers Championship as a step in the right direction.
Mickelson made the most of his first start as a 50-year-old, shooting rounds of 64-63 to take a one-shot lead into the weekend as he looked to win for the third time at TPC River Highlands. But he couldn't keep pace from there, closing with two straight rounds of 1-over 71. Mickelson finished the week at 11 under in a tie for 24th place.
But after missing his three previous cuts, Mickelson started this week in danger of missing four in a row for the first time since 1993. That recent trend helped him put this week's result in perspective as he completed 72 holes for the first time since a third-place showing at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.
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"I'm looking at this week as progress," Mickelson said. "Certainly the goal is to win tournaments, but keep in mind I've missed a bunch of cuts. I haven't played to the level I've wanted to, and this week I came in and had a lot of great finds. I hit a lot of good shots, hit a lot of good tee shots. My misses were much better."
Mickelson's round Sunday started slowly, and a tee shot out of bounds on No. 10 led to a double bogey. He'll head home next week before an appearance at the new Workday for Charity Open, the first of what might be two straight weeks of work at Muirfield Village for the five-time major champ.
"This was a good week in a lot of areas, and I'm very optimistic going forward. I don't think this is a one-off," Mickelson said. "I think it's going to be the start of something really special, at least that's what I'm sensing. So I'm excited to work on it, to refine it and then to get back out in Ohio and see if I can put it together."