Seven things to know after the first round of the 2019 Desert Classic in La Quinta, Caifornia, where Phil Mickelson shot a career-low 12-under 60 and leads by three shots.
- On Top: Aided by a sizzling start that went birdie-birdie-par-par-birdie-eagle on Nos. 1-6 at La Quinta CC, Phil Mickelson turned in 30, and carded another 30 on the back-nine, en route to a PGA Tour record third-career score of 60 or better.
- Closing It: Mickelson is 9-for-28 (about 30%) in his career with the 18-hole lead/co-lead, but 2-for-2 in events where he’s posted a 60 (2005 and 2013 WM Phoenix Open).
- Hot Putter: Mickelson putted just 21 times on Thursday, one off his career best of 20 (twice, most recently: R1/2009 WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral).
- Double 30: Mickelson shot 30 on both the front and back nines at La Quinta, marking his third and fourth nine-hole scores of 30 at the Desert Classic. He went on to win his previous two instances: R1/2002/Tamarisk CC, R2/2004/Indian Wells.
- Second-place: PGA Tour rookie Adam Long – making his sixth career start, opened with a 63 on the Nickalus course, and is three back.
- Defending: 2018 winner Jon Rahm was T8 and six shots back of the lead after a solid score of 66 at La Quinta.
- World No.1: The world’s top-ranked player in the field, No. 1 Justin Rose, playing with new clubs and fill-in caddie, opened with a 4-under 68, also at La Quinta CC.
TOP 5 LEADERS
Pos-Player-To Par (Today)
1. Phil Mickelson -12 (-12)
2. Adam Long -9 (-9)
3. Curtis Luck -8 (-8)
4. Martin Laird -7 (-7)
4. Trey Mullinax -7 (-7)
4. Adam Hadwin -7 (-7)
4. Wyndham Clark -7 (-7)
VIDEO: ROUND-1 HIGHLIGHTS
EXIT QUESTION FOR PHIL
At what point did you think you could really go low today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I really didn’t think that this was going to be a day that I was going to go low. I came in with very low expectations, I haven’t had a lot of time to practice and prepare and I felt like all areas were okay, but you never really know until you get out and you play and compete.
And I hit a shot here or there and ended up making a putt and all of a sudden I was quite a few under par. The good thing was I made a couple bad swings and I got away with them. This golf course, there’s out of bounds close by, it’s easy to make big mistakes and I was able to get away with the one or two poor swings.
And then I putted phenomenal.