On Thursday, five-time major champion, Phil Mickelson couldn’t buy a birdie. On Saturday, in the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Lefty came within one shot of tying the course record. Phil narrowly made the 36 hole cut in the first tournament on the European Tour’s Desert Swing, but moved up 41 spots on the leaderboard, and at one time during his round, was tied for the lead.
Mickelson got it going early on Saturday with birdies at the first two holes., and was three under on the day in four holes. He would make a bogey at the fifth hole, but got it back with another birdie at six. After an eagle at the par five eighth hole.
He made the turn at 31, and continued to roll putts in the hole throughout the back nine. After picking up his second, and last bogey at 14, the 2013 Open Champ closed with birdies at 15, and 18 before carding a -9 under 63 on the day.
On a mission this week to test a new driver, Mickelson couldn’t get a drive in the fairway on Thursday, and shot a one over par 73 without making one birdie. He has gotten a little better each day, with his putter waking up on Friday. Saturday found the aging super-star looking like the veteran who won both, the Scottish Open, and the Open Championship in 2013.
Phil Mickelson has vowed to play a conservative schedule in 2014, with emphasis on the majors, and in particular the one coming up in June at Pinehurst. He has finished runner-up six times in the US Open, and it is the only one remaining for him to complete the career slam.