Phil Comes Up Short, Steele Defends at Safeway



 

Phil Mickelson’s three-plus year drought will continue for at least a few more weeks as the 47-year-old came up two shots short on Sunday at the Safeway Open, giving Brendan Steele the opening he needed to successfully defend his title. 

Mickelson shot a final round 70 that turned out to be three shots shy of Steele and one shot back of solo runner-up Tony Finau.

Despite coming up short, Mickelson was encouraged by his performance, according to PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister

Mickelson shot a 2-under 70 in the final round of the Safeway Open to finish at 12 under, three strokes behind winner Brendan Steele. His tie for third is his best result since The Open in 2016 when he finished second in a Sunday duel against Henrik Stenson, and continues his upward trend – his last 12 rounds on TOUR have been at par-or-better.

He’ll now take two weeks off, then play the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China. Having won twice at Sheshan Golf Club, Mickelson certainly has reason to hope for a third win. If it happens, it would end the 91-start drought since his last victory on TOUR, The Open in 2013.

“I’m going to keep giving myself good chances, and it will happen,” Mickelson said. “I get on a course like Sheshan where I’m very comfortable. I know the greens. I know the course well. I think I’ll have a good week there.”

He almost had a great week at Silverado. Mickelson posted 23 birdies – tying Chesson Hadley for most of any player this week – and entered the final round four shots off the lead. He had hoped to get off to a fast start and apply pressure on the leaders, including 54-hole leader Tyler Duncan.

 

Sunday’s tough scoring conditions prevented anybody from going low, but Mickelson was still in the mix after his birdie at the par-5 16th. He figured if he could birdie the next two holes, he might have a shot to catch eventual champ Brendan Steele. But he missed the fairway on the par-4 17th to the left, leaving him with a difficult shot over a tall redwood that guards the left side of the green. His approach found the bunker, and he failed to save par.

For Steele, it was his third PGA Tour victory joining last year’s Safeway and the 2011 Valero Texas Open. 

[PGATour.com]

 

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