Phil Mickelson's first PGA Tour round as a 50-year-old goes as well as he could have imagined
Phil Mickelson will not be the first day at the Travelers Championship. But if there had been a senior department, he would have wrapped up the title.
Mickelson played the PGA Tour for the first time when he was 50 and fired a Bogey-free 64 in the TPC River Highlands (or is it "phired"). Impressive stuff, especially when you consider that Mickelson missed his previous three cuts, including two weeks ago at Colonial.
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Mickelson started on the back nine and made three birdies before it was his turn. After Birdies at No. 2 and 3, he added a sixth at his last hole at No. 9.
But it was only part of a spectacular show by the marquee group on Thursday morning. Rory McIlroy hit him with a 63 and Bryson DeChambeau shot 65.
On the third hole you could hear Mickelson saying to DeChambeau, "This is bad" after starting a 335-yard run. But Mickelson, who poked his Drive 313 yards, made the only birdie in the pairing.
"So I love what I do. I love my job," Mickelson told reporters afterwards. "I love to play and compete and I really like to play with people like Rory and Bryson who are just tremendous talents and try to compete with these guys. Rory has one of the most beautiful golf swings this game has ever seen, and Bryson has a unique style of play that is fascinating and he plays at the highest level. I like to watch and learn, but I also like to try to play my game and compete regardless of age. "
For the round, Mickelson was an average of 301.5 meters from the tee. However, with his irons he was even better and hit 16 out of 18 greens.
Mickelson also received some good news before the round when the USGA improved its criteria for this year's US Open as there will be no qualification. Mickelson added the top 70 of the official golf world rankings to the event on March 15 (10 more places than usual) and in September he had a place at Winged Foot, where one of his six record second places landed in 2006.
"No, it worked great to know that I had a chance to go back to Winged Foot and try again," said the five-time major champion. "But I had 30 US Opens. I had a lot of options, and if I don't qualify, I want someone else who deserves a place to play as long as I play well enough." In order to compete to earn my way into the field, I want to play and keep trying to win this tournament. "
If he continues to play as he did on Thursday, Mickelson, who as the oldest main champion writes more history, doesn't seem to be that far-fetched.
RELATED: Phil Mickelson had a funny reaction to a Bryson DeChambeau bomb
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