(Mar. 5, 2017) – Phil Mickelson shared seventh place in the WGC-Mexico Championship Sunday at 10 under par, four strokes behind winner and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. It was Phil’s best finish of the season, his second top-10 in seven starts, and moved him up four spots to No. 19 in the world.
Going into the event at Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City, perched at something more than 7,500 feet above sea level, the challenge figured to be controlling distances with the irons into often elevated and always sloped and tiered greens.
Phil, whose career forte has been his iron play, embraced it.
“I really enjoy that challenge, I’m having fun with it,” he said after sharing first place Thursday with a 67. “I hit a lot of good iron shots and I drove the ball pretty well, too, which allowed me to play a number of holes aggressively.”
Caddy Jim Mackay didn’t enjoy Friday so much. Stricken with food poisoning, he had to give up the bag after three holes to Phil’s brother, Tim.
“Sickest I’ve been in a long time,” said Mackay, who underwent double-knee surgery in October but rallied to return to work by mid-January and hadn’t missed a day since the 1999 Ryder Cup in Spain.
Unfortunately for Phil, he hit just four fairways Saturday, which he started in second place and finished in third.
“I’m a little disappointed because I know that I have been playing so well coming into this week,” he said. “To come out today and totally lose it is very disappointing. I fought hard to stay in it.”
It wasn’t much better Sunday, when he found only six fairways and nine greens in regulation, but managed to shoot par-71 after playing the front nine three-over.
“This is a good tournament for me to build off of,” Phil said afterward. “It was disappointing yesterday, but to come back and play a good solid back nine and get a little bit of momentum now, I’m looking forward to the upcoming stretch.”
He plans to take two weeks off and start his run-up to the Masters with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, TX, and the Shell Houston Open. n.