Phil Mickelson shot 63 on glorious day at Royal Troon but there was so much more to it than that terrific score.
The 2013 champion leads The Open Championship at the close of the first day thanks to a course record 63. His astonishing backward nine helped erase the previous course record (64 – Tiger Woods, 1997) and gave him a 16 foot putt on the final green to shoot 62.
The significance of 62? No player has ever shot 62 in a major championship. His 16 foot putt on the last looked for all the world like dropping, but it caught the right lip and stayed out. Nevertheless it was a sensational round, almost certainly his best since winning The Open in 2013.
Mickelson described it as “one of the best rounds that I’ve played. I mean, nothing will match that final round at Muirfield, but it was one of the best rounds I’ve ever played.”
Mickelson went on to describe the walk up 18: “we were walking up the fairway and he (Ernie Els) said: “you know this is for 62?” I said “I know. Why do you think I hung on to that drive?”
Mickelson then turned to caddie Jim McKay “I need your best read. I don’t know if you know this…” he (McKay) says “oh, I know.
Unfortunately history in that category was not to be changed. Only one man has ever went on to win The Open after shooting the lowest round in a major (63): Greg Norman at Turnberry in 1986. Will Mickelson be lifting the Claret Jug on Sunday after today’s brillaince on the Ayrshire links?