Phil Mickelson shot a ten-under-par 61 in the opening round of his debut PGA Champions Tour event at Ozark National on Monday.
Mickelson, who failed to make the cut at this past weekend’s The Northern Trust, decided to make his first appearance in the over-50 competition and was in no mood to fool around when he arrived at the first tee.
The five-time Major champion was flawless throughout his round and able to sink five straight birdies on the final five holes of the course.
But, in typical, devastating Mickelson fashion, he set the tone from the very start with five birdies on the front nine before an unfortunate bogey on the 9th robbed him from what would eventually have been a spectacular 60.
Pouring them in.
Lefty drains another long birdie. pic.twitter.com/RKgc2jldv5
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) August 24, 2020
‘I didn’t really want two weeks off. I’ve been working hard on my game. I want to get out and play,’ Mickelson said about not competing in the final two rounds at TPC Boston.
Instead, he started the week with a bang, alongside some of the greatest players to ever play the game.
‘It’s a lot of fun. It’s a fun environment. And it’s fun to see a lot of the guys I grew up watching, and played with them for a number of years, and played a bunch of Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups with a lot of guys out here. I was a little nervous, too, because I wanted to come out and play well. I was playing really well,’ he added.
The American will, however, only take a one-shot lead into Tuesday’s second round with David Mackenzie hot on his heals on nine under and in second place.
South Africa’s Ernie Els is also in contention after his opening-round 65, which had him end the day in T7 and on six under par for the event.